Animal clinic sole bidder on airport lease

Animal Health Care Associates. —Daniel Greenman

After fear that one of the Vineyard’s last remaining animal clinics might lose its lease at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, airport officials have confirmed that Animal Health Care Associates (AHCA) has no competition for its lease.

AHCA is the sole bidder for the lease of its current property on Airport Road, with the deadline for all replies for the lease having recently passed. The Martha’s Vineyard Airport commission plans to vote on whether to recommend awarding the lease during its next meeting, scheduled for this Thursday at 2 pm.

There had been concern in the community that the animal clinic would lose its lease during a public bidding process, which would be another blow to the already dwindling resources available for Island pet owners.

On February 19, Dr. Steve Atwood of AHCA announced to clients that his practice was attempting to extend its lease with the airport, asking residents to send letters of support in favor of renewing AHCA’s lease. The clinic’s initial lease is expiring after 40 years.

The announcement also concerned veterinarians, as a lack of access to animal health care has long been an issue for the Vineyard. This has been compounded in the last year by the closing of My Pet’s Vet in February 2023. And Dr. Constance Breese of Sea Breeze Veterinary Service plans to retire next month.

According to the airport commission, in order to award the lease, the airport must follow processes laid out in state and federal laws, including issuing a request for proposal for the lease and requiring a market-rate lease agreement. An independent assessment of the property found that the market rate for the lease is $12,000 per month. AHCA pays just under $900 monthly under its current 40-year lease.

Airport Director Geoffrey Freeman confirmed to the MV Times that ACHA’s bid satisfied the required $12,000-per-month minimum rent for the property, and that their bid was reviewed by the airport’s Land Use Subcommittee on April 4.

Animal Health Care Associates has told the MV Times that it prefers not to comment on the lease process until it has fully concluded.


  1. Congratulations Dr Steve!!!!

    Is it true the market rate for the lease is $12,000 per month. AHCA pays just under $900 monthly under its current 40-year lease.
    Airport Director Geoffrey Freeman confirmed to the MV Times that ACHA’s bid satisfied the required $12,000-per-month minimum rent for the property, or is that just more fake news by the new folks at the MV Times?

    Again, Congratulations Dr Steve!!!

  2. $12,000. per month for how big of a space ?
    Does the rent include heat, electricity, taxes or a per centage of the gross income? I think any small local business would seriously struggle to just hang on with that sort of overhead before all the other expenses involved in running a business. Thank you Animal Healthcare for trying so hard to stay open! We are so grateful to have a Vet Clinic on island to help with ourpets.

  3. This is the Best News !!!!!! I am so happy for this outcome. I am happy that Animal Health Care and those that work there will be back to business without this huge stress hanging over them.

  4. Wow if they are paying $144,000 a year in rent Vs the $10,800 someone’s pet bills are going way up or the owner is taking a huge hit. It’s Good to be a landlord

  5. Twelve thousand dollars a MONTH????
    Doesn’t seem right.
    Good news that AHC isn’t going to be kicked out,
    but adding that kind of overhead to their business is likely to cause a hefty hike in vet fees.

  6. So happy for our animal community but $12,000 a month from $900? Is this correct? If so, will we lose our vets anyway due to outrageous rent? Hope not.

  7. This is great news….but but but am I reading this right? Is AHC going to pay a 1000% rent increase from $900 to 12K a month? I know it’s after 40 years but is there any thing to do about this? Petitions? Grants? Subsidies? Community considerations? We are so glad you can stay Steve (as well as all the other wonderful providers at AHC (plus the kenneling)) …now about the next part?

  8. A quick google inquiry reports that amount corrected should be around $8,200. It does seem a bit excessive. He did have a sweet deal for a very long time. But a reasonable rent should be expected for a basic necessity for the island. Hopefully they can figure out something.

  9. Why isn’t there any outrage that this business has been paying only $900 a month for a facility that should have been generating $12 K a month in rent? It’s shameful they haven’t been paying the going rate and screwing taxpayers for the last few decades.

    • John– leave it to you….
      In 1984 The airport and the clinic signed a thing called
      a “lease”. A lease is a legally binding contract.
      The $900 was probably a bit steep back then.
      But who knew that Joe Biden would
      create so much inflation ( presidents have full
      control over that , apparently) that $900 would be
      almost worthless 40 years later ? I know– Biden has
      only been president for 3 years, but he was in the
      senate almost all that time. And forget what I said about
      presidents having control over inflation– that has always been
      handed to whatever senator is from Delaware.
      Bit, excuse me if that all sounds a little like
      “malarky”, but I think I passed by the Kool-Aid
      isle at the supermarket the other day.
      But back to reality.
      I have a mortgage that I signed years ago
      I have an agreement with the
      bank to pay a certain amount of money per month.
      Back when I got the mortgage, that represented about
      2 1/2 weeks of my salary. I can now make that in 4 days.
      Do you think I should go to the bank and apologize for
      “screwing” them, and get a new mortgage that reflects
      the true value of whatever it was that I paid back in
      1999 to reflect the current value of my house, and
      the cumulative inflationary reality of the dollar today
      as compared to the value of of the dollar in 1999 ?
      How about you ? Are you “screwing” your bank as well ?
      Do you feel “outrage” at yourself ?
      Besides– Steve is a “job creator”– he shouldn’t
      be paying ANY taxes !

  10. Yay Steve!! Our dog Tanji says thank you woof woof… and we are thrilled with this news.
    Hallellujah!! <3 <3

  11. Everyone: you live on an ISLAND surrounded by WATER. You can’t drive down the road to get here. In my opinion, if you want ANY Vet, I’d even offer the property lease free except for utilities. Once Steve retires, and he is WELL at that age, you’re left without anyone.
    Steve cared for all of my wonderful dogs from 1982 until 2021 when I left the island. It is not unusual for elderly single people (like myself) to leave their dog sitter or dog care person in their Will: my wonderful dog walker is in my will: money for my Gracie’s care, and an option to buy my house at a greatly reduced price. For me, my dogs are my children. When Steve goes – then what?? Don’t complain.

  12. Any idea if the new lease will also be for 40 years ?
    40 years from now, that $12,000 a month could look just as cheap as
    $900 looks today.

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