Edgartown selectmen Monday rejected a bid to buy the Warren House, a rundown town-owned former captain’s house on North Water street.
After a discussion in executive session with town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport, the selectmen said the bid by a group including Edgartown businesswoman Maggie White was too low. The board voted to put the house advertisement back in the central registry with a minimum bid of $2.3 million.
Ms. White and investors Christopher Celeste and his wife Nancy Kramer of Facing West Ventures LLC bid $1.25 million cash or $1 million and 40 per cent of proceeds on the house at 62 North Water street. It was the only bid the town received.
Selectman and board chairman Margaret Serpa said neither of the bids “meet the obligation that the town presently has on this piece of property.”
The selectmen voted to put the building back in the central registry as soon as possible with a minimum price of $2.3 million, offering brokers a three per cent commission if they bring in a customer.
The town bought the circa-1790 building in 2004 for $3.5 million, planning at the time to expand the library next door.
Expansion plans proved unfeasible, and the library will be built elsewhere. The town put the house on the market last fall with a minimum bid of $2.5 million, but received no bids.
The second bidding process began in December with no minimum bids.
Town administrator Pamela Dolby said she had received a number of phone calls and interest in the property since news of the bid appeared in the newspaper.
“Certainly we’re disappointed,” Ms. White, who owns the Hob Knob Inn, Hob Knob Realty and Hob Knob Construction, told the Gazette Wednesday. She noted that she heard positive things from people in Edgartown regarding her plans. “I think that we will circle back to the selectmen and have further discussions . . . see if a deal is possible to be made,” she said. “We’re forever hopeful,” she said about the chance to renovate the building and “take care of the village the way it should be.” The Edgartown selectmen did give the green light for the town to participate in Cape Light Compact’s new LED streetlight project, which will bring savings by reducing the town’s streetlight bill.
Through the Cape Light Compact’s energy efficiency program, the town’s 288 mercury vapor streetlights will be replaced with LED lights at no cost to the town except for the cost of police detail during installation.
“It’s a really wonderful idea and the time has come,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck said. “And having it funded through Cape Light Compact is a boon to the town, of course.”
The street light project is also taking place in other Vineyard and Cape towns.
Demonstration lights were installed this spring in Edgartown: five on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road between the Triangle and the animal shelter, and five on Pease’s Point Way between the fire station and Main street.
Highway superintendent Stuart Fuller said there have been two comments on the lights, both favorable.
Program manager Kevin Galligan said the project would go out to bid in July, and selectmen could set any terms and conditions for the project. The installation project would begin in January 2014, he said, and bucket trucks doing the installation would be off the road by this time next year.
In Edgartown, the town would see $23,800 in energy savings in fiscal year 2015.
Mr. Galligan said the LED lights last longer, with a shelf life of 10 to 15 years, and have lower maintenance costs.
In other business, selectmen approved a memorandum of understanding between the Coast Guard stations Menemsha and Woods Hole and the town of Edgartown that will provide mutual assistance for marine incidents in Edgartown, with thanks to the Coast Guard for taking time to train Edgartown officers. The agreement “puts us on the same playing field for law enforcement,” police chief Antone Bettencourt said. The agreement comes as Edgartown launches a new police boat on the harbor. Mr. Bettencourt said U.S. Coast Guard senior chief Jason Olsen reached out to the town to offer assistance with training for the boat. Eleven people in the boat training program received 70 hours of training apiece, he said, and Coast Guard officers provided training at no cost and “sometimes on their own time.” The selectmen rejected a request to put a restroom trailer at the foot of Fuller street for a wedding rehearsal fireworks show Friday night, noting that they are uncomfortable with allowing the trailer on town-owned property.