A developer is looking for permission to open an inn in Edgartown in a proposal that will return the property to its roots. The proposal to turn the property at 222 Upper Main St. from rented rooms to an inn went before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission Thursday. The former Arbor Inn was being rented as rooms for local workers and seniors who lost their housing during the interim first two years of new ownership, according to attorney Geoghan Coogan, who is representing the owners.
Arbor Inn previously began operations in 2001, but was shut down in 2015 for operating without the proper licenses. According to MVC’s DRI coordinator, Alex Elvin, the property was bought in 2018 by Stony Brooks, LLC. Stony Brooks is a legal entity owned by the real estate investment firm Boldwater Holdings, LLC, formerly known as Sawyer Realty Holdings, according to Boldwater co-founder Jessica Rosenberg. The project is being built by William C. Sullivan, principal architect of Sullivan + Associates Architects. Authorization to file an application for a special permit with the town of Edgartown planning board was given Oct. 5. The related parties met with the Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC) on March 1, 2021.
The plan is organized into two phases. Currently, the property has 13 rooms: 11 in the main building, with a cottage and a small garage. The plan is to demolish a wing off the back part of the main building and construct a three-story addition with six rooms. Solar panels were proposed for the new building. Coogan told the commission the phased plan is facing some difficulties. “The initial hope, since it’s a fairly large project, was to do phase one. There’s currently not really a phase one, and not really a phase two anymore just because of the construction situation on the Island,” said Coogan.
The plan says there will be limited demolition. “There will be fairly extensive renovation of both the main house and the site to bring it up to current standards,” said Sullivan. “The building was really in bad disrepair. Not much work has been done to it in probably 20 years, and that includes the site.”
Besides the construction to the main building, these include improvements to guest rooms and bathrooms, updating the fire safety system, and rearranging the cottage so there is more parking space. It will also require mutual easement with the neighboring property on 230 Upper Main St. Donaroma’s will be doing the landscaping for the property.
The owners of the property also own Edgar Hotel, which is next to Town Bar & Grill MV across the street. Guests may check in through Edgar Hotel, and the new inn will be run by the staff of Edgar Hotel, according to Elvin. The future inn might share amenities with Edgar Hotel. Guests will be offered bicycles to travel with, most likely with vouchers for Edgartown Bicycles. There will be no dining service.
Commissioner Ben Robinson brought up pedestrian safety. “The closest crosswalk is 200 feet toward the Stop & Shop,” said Robinson. The distance may prompt guests to jaywalk rather than walking back and forth and the combined 400 feet for the crosswalk.
The inn will not open this season, and will be opened at an unspecified date. Commissioners closed the public hearing, and plan to do a site visit in the next week. The record for this hearing will be open until May 24.