The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has purchased land off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road to the tune of $3.6 million for its planned nursing facility to replace its costly and outdated Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
The purchase has been in the works since 2019, when the hospital’s offer to purchase the land was accepted. The hospital officially purchased the 490 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road property from Bradford A. Norton and Philip J. Norton III on July 22 for $3.6 million, according to county records. The Norton family has owned the 26.4-acre property since 2012, according to assessor records. The property was appraised at $1 million.
“MVH has officially closed on the property in Edgartown, marking the next big step in a plan to transform skilled nursing care for Island elders and workforce housing for hospital and nursing home staff,” hospital president and CEO Denise Schepici said in an email statement. “We are grateful to the voters of Edgartown who voted unanimously to amend zoning bylaws to make way for this important project. Completion of the project requires many next steps including clearing wastewater capacity issues, reviews by the planning board and the MVC as well as state approval of licensure. We are hoping to present and clear these hurdles soon so that a new model of care can be offered to those who most need it in our community.”
The large project is planned to consist of 70 beds in five buildings for the nursing area, and 60 units of workforce housing.
For several years, Windemere has been operating at a loss. The hospital is in talks with Navigator Elder Homes New England to create sustainable, transformative elder care for its dozens of residents through a concept called Green House homes.
Navigator is a certified developer of the Green House elder home model, which seeks to redefine residential care and give elders the privacy they deserve, as well as the support they rely on. The project will cost Navigator approximately $34 million from the design and planning stage to construction and first opening.
But the project faces challenges with its wastewater flow.
Edgartown wastewater facilities manager Bill Burke told The Times the hospital wants to run a pipeline from the property to the Morgan Woods pump station. From there the wastewater will go to the Vineyard Golf Club pump station before heading to the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
During a July 22 wastewater commission meeting, Ian Catlow, an engineer with Tighe & Bond, an environmental consulting firm, said the project would produce an estimated 19,850 gallons of flow per day. This could potentially bring flows up to 704,850 during peak days during the summer which is 46,000 gallons per day shy of its state permit, according to a Martha’s Vineyard Commission wastewater management study.
Both the Morgan Woods and golf course pumping stations would then require major upgrades — just under $370,000 at Morgan Woods and $695,000 at the golf club.
The flow increase would require the town to complete a comprehensive wastewater management plan, a state requirement when daily flows reach up to 80 percent of sewer capacity.
Ed Pesce, an engineering consultant for the hospital, said the hospital could potentially pay for parts of the needed upgrades to the wastewater flow capacity. The hospital has not received approval for flow capacity.
“MassDEP is concerned, or interested enough in the project, that we will be meeting again to talk about the project’s impacts,” Catlow said. “They would like to see the town take a harder look at wastewater planning over the next couple of years.”