Potential bidders and other interested parties streamed through the old Yellow House in downtown Edgartown on Tuesday, getting an up-close look at the rundown property that the town is expected to lease to a developer after the first of the year.

Building dates to 1800s and was taken by eminent domain in June. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The house at 66 Main street had not changed much since the town took the property by eminent domain in June, town officials said. A stairway extending from the second floor stopped abruptly halfway down, with a gaping hole in the first floor and the second and third floor ceilings above from what appeared to be a missing fireplace. The first floor was scattered with wooden beams, equipment, traffic cones, paint cans, old office chairs, a wheelbarrow, plastic crates of bricks, and an old sign for Peck’s BadBoy. A stack of doors and a bicycle were piled behind the entrance facing South Summer street.

A carpeted staircase led to the second floor, where the floors are painted alternately pink, blue or yellow.

“Be careful up there,” historic district commission assistant Brique Garber called out.

A narrow wood staircase led to the third floor, which was empty save for a large clawfoot bathtub and a hole in the floor. Throughout the dusty house, the walls and ceilings were unfinished.

The 15 or so people touring the building were looking at the bones of the old house, which is said to date to 1800 and was once the Capt. Charles Pease House. It most recently was a bookstore.

Armed with tape measures, notebooks, and the cameras on their phones, the visitors assessed all three floors, the multiple doors, and picture windows with an eye to future plans.

“A house of a thousand doors,” one person said. “A couple gallons of paint will do it, right?” someone else quipped.

“Nothing can’t be fixed,” said another.

The town issued a request for proposals for the property this month to find interested parties to propose a renovation plan and future use for the long-vacant property.

Eugene Courtney (wearing cap), a well-known downtown business owner, is among 14 people who have expressed interest in the property. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Bids are due Jan. 8. The terms of the lease will run between 15 and 30 years.

Prospective bidders were required to attend a meeting afterward, when town officials and members of the town Yellow House committee answered questions. Thirteen people signed the official sign-in sheet: Anne Cook, Annie Cooke, Eugene Courtney, Patrick Courtney, Theodore Courtney, Michael Hegarty, Nicholas Catt, William Claffey, Julia Celeste, Christopher Celeste, Gery Conover, Dudley Cannada, and Mark Nicotera.

Annie Cook of Chilmark and Vineyard Haven said she was interested in a community-based education program and asked about parking. Other potential applicants offered little information about their plans.

Will Craffey of Oak Bluffs asked whether the town was looking for something in particular. “Theoretically we all want to come up with an idea that works for us and also works for the town,” he said.

Committee member Christopher Scott reiterated the town’s stated preferences for proposals, which include a distinct use, year-round if possible, and not a duplicate of other uses in town. “We’re asking for a transformative proposal, something that takes a derelict building that’s been neglected for 20 years and bring some vitality to it,” he said.

“The purpose of the RFP is to ask the respondents to be creative . . . we’ve tried not to create a box that you have to work with,”he said.

Nicholas Catt asked if the contents of the building would be included. Town administrator Pamela Dolby said the prior owners of the property can take what they want within a certain amount of time, and the town can also take anything the prior owners do not want.

After a few questions the room went silent. “Is this good or bad,” committee member Gail Croteau said.

“I think it’s good,” Mr. Scott said. “It’s like the world series of poker . . . they’re not going to show their hands.”

Town procurement officer Juliet Mulinare said other walk-throughs of the property could be arranged. The deadline for questions is Dec. 5.

To date 14 people have requested information packets, including one of the former owners of the property, Benjamin Hall, who did not attend the walk-through. Those who did not attend the walk-through and meeting will continue to receive updates about the bidding process but will not be able to bid, Ms. Mulinare said.