A prominent 18th century inn and restaurant in downtown Edgartown has come under new ownership.
On Monday this week the Edgartown selectmen approved a liquor license transfer for the Kelley House, which includes the Newes from America, a pub at the corner of Kelley and North Water streets.
The property sold in March for $8.875 million to a private investment group. The buyer was PS Kelley LLC of Greenwich, Conn., according to real estate records. The building known as the Court House, located at 51 North Water, was acquired by PS Kelley in a separate transaction for $2 million.
The hotel has been operating almost continuously since the 1740s, though it has had various changes of name and ownership over the years. Originally called the Tavern, it was subsequently known as the Marcy House, the Vineyard House, the Seaview House and the Great Harbour Hotel before reverting to the name it was given around the turn of the 20th century by owners William and Elizabeth A. Kelley.
The new owners are a small group of business partners whose names have been kept confidential, said Robin Kirk, president of Scout Hotels, which will continue to manage the properties. Scout also manages the Harbor View Hotel.
But ownership of the Kelley House and Harbor View is now separate, Mr. Kirk said.
He did confirm that one of the new owners is Bradley Palmer, managing partner of Palm Ventures investment company, who acts as the group’s principal. Mr. Palmer could not be reached for comment Thursday, but Mr. Kirk said the group is “excited about the possibilities of the hotel and believe it represents an important part of the fabric of Edgartown.”
Mr. Kirk said the plan calls for continuing to operate the properties as a hotel and restauarant.
“All I can say is we really like the Newes and we really like Kelley House and we think it will probably be very similar but much improved,” he said.
The buildings are currently undergoing modest refurbishing before the summer season, which includes painting, he said.
“It is quite an iconic place and we love large parts of it, and we want to make sure that we only change it where it will be an improvement for the community and the guests,” he said.
Scout also manages a property in North Falmouth and another in Florida. Scout first came onto the scene in Edgartown in 2006 as Scout Real Estate, when it bought the Harbor View and Kelley House for a combined price of $45.1 million. The purchase included the turn-of-the-century Harbor View Hotel overlooking the Edgartown Lighthouse at the end of North Water street, and the Kelley House complex which includes a tavern that dates to 1742. At the time Scout paid $32.5 million for the Harbor View and $12.6 million for the Kelley House complex.
Since then the investment backers for the properties have changed while Scout has continued to manage them. Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street investment house that filed for bankruptcy in 2008, was a backer at one point.
The Harbor View has since undergone significant renovations and both properties remain two of the best known resorts on the Vineyard.
The Kelley House properties are currently valued at a combined $8.738 million, according to Edgartown assessors’ records.
There are nine buildings in the complex, which house a combined 54 guest rooms.
In addition to the Newes pub, the complex also includes what is known as the garden house building, a small retail building on Dock street, two town houses and a maintenance building, known to some as the Love Shack. Along North Water street, the property extends to include Mizzentop and Chappy houses.
“We are working with the investors on a plan to make sure the Kelley House thrives in the future,” Mr. Kirk said.