Airport Fitness marketed briefly as hotel site

$2,975,000 asking price for lease ‘withdrawn’ after Times asks questions about it.

Airport Fitness in West Tisbury.

The Airport Fitness site at 24 Airport Rd. was recently marketed by Mitchell B. Muroff of the Muroff-Daigle Hospitality Group as a potential hotel site. The asking price to buy out the lease extension was $2,975,000.

When The Times reached Muroff on the phone Tuesday morning, he said of the listing, “It’s been withdrawn.” As of 12 noon, a note at the top of the post stated, “This land property is no longer available.”

The property listing came as a surprise to airport representatives, county officials, and even the owner of the business that currently occupies the space.

Airport manager Ann Richart told The Times Tuesday she had never before heard of the proposal. Assistant airport manager Geoff Freeman and Dukes County manager Martina Thornton also said it was the first time they’d ever heard of such an offering.

Richart confirmed there is a 20-year lease renewal option on the property, something touted in the online advertisement. She said lessee Connie McHugh, owner of Airport Fitness and Vineyard Tennis Center, is up for renewal in 2020, and the Airport Commission must approve the renewal. She also said any kind of use change of the lease, such as for a hotel, would require separate Airport Commission approval.

Asked if she believed the Airport Commission had deliberated over, or voted on, conversion of the leased premises for a hotel, Richart said, “They have not.”

Reached by telephone Tuesday morning, Airport Fitness owner McHugh said she wasn’t aware her lease had been marketed, and said she would look into the matter. Pressed on her knowledge of the subject, she said, “I could check into it — not that I’m aware of.” She also indicated another investor may be involved, but declined to say who that might be. “I’m not the only one who has interest in the property,” she said.

Reached in Barbados, McHugh’s former business partner, Kenneth Martin, told The Times he exited a business relationship with McHugh in 2010, and was unaware of any current deals unfolding. “I don’t have any involvement,” he said.

The listing touted the 1.10-acre lot as a “rare opportunity” for development. “There is an opportunity to reconfigure the building or start anew to develop a first-class hotel on the site, catering to a mix of business, leisure, and transient guests,” the listing states. “The current owner enjoys a long-term lease with more than 20 years left on the renewal, and the ongoing support of the Airport Commission, county commissioners, and county manager of Dukes County to enter into a new, long-term Agreement for a hotel development. There is an opportunity to continue the existing health club business, and to take advantage of the 360 solar panels which currently supply all of the energy requirements of the building.”

The advertisement is detailed; it talks about which airlines fly in and out of Martha’s Vineyard Airport, and also makes reference to the property being an ideal location either for conventions or to house wedding parties. “There are currently no competitive properties that can accommodate an entire wedding party or conference,” the listing proclaimed.