The Sydney Hotel is working on plans to build a new 10,000-square-foot hotel, with retail space and employee housing, on Winter street in the heart of downtown Edgartown.

The project comes before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission this week as a development of regional impact. A public hearing opens Thursday night.

Plans filed with the commission show that the new hotel would be operated as part of the Sydney Hotel, a small eight-room inn housed in a historic building on the corner of North Water and Winter streets that also houses l’etoile restaurant.

A 10,000-square-foot boutique hotel is planned for parking lot that faces Winter street. — Mark Lovewell

The new building would be constructed on a vacant lot next to the hotel that is now used for parking. The building is detailed in documents filed with the MVC as a “small, walk-able, upscale, boutique hotel,” with 14 hotel rooms, five employee housing units in a full basement, a small retail shop and a small bakery/cafe. Seven parking spaces and a courtyard available for public use are planned.

The Sydney is owned by Charles and Anne Hajjar, who also own the Christopher Inn (formerly the Victorian Inn) on South Water street in Edgartown, and other properties around the Island. The hotel is operated by Lark Hotels, a hotel ownership and management group that also owns and operates the Summercamp Hotel in Oak Bluffs.

Lark Hotels founder and chief executive officer Rob Blood said the new building will complement the existing Sydney Hotel by providing guests with more common and outdoor space, as well as adding more hotel rooms.
“It’s going to add [hotel] rooms to Edgartown permanently, which is great from an economic development standpoint,” he said.

The employee housing will be for hotel employees, and Mr. Blood said the retail space would be leased. The cafe will either be leased or operated by the Sydney, he said.

“Part of our hope is we can activate that part of the street,” he said. “Nevin Square is right across the way, where good things are happening....this will extend the hustle and bustle down.”

The Edgartown historic district commission unanimously approved the plan in September; if it is approved by the commission, the project will also require approval from the planning board and the zoning board of appeals.

Mr. Blood said that the time line for construction is tentative and pending approvals, but they are hoping for a spring 2018 opening.

Architect Patrick Ahearn has designed building plans. Like the existing Sydney Hotel, the new hotel and cafe would be open seasonally, though hotel representatives said it could shift to year-round operation if the demand exists.

Plans are also in the works to renovate the existing Sydney Hotel, Mr. Blood said, to add a new entrance for hotel guests and expand the restaurant space.

The circa-1892 inn was long known as the Captain Charles W. Fisher House (Captain Fisher was a well-known whaling captain) and was built by William P. Chadwick. In the mid-1990s the hotel was sold and reopened as the Tuscany Inn. It was sold twice in the 2000s and known briefly as the Fallon Inn.

It has housed l’etoile restaurant, owned and operated by Michael Brisson, since 2006.