A Vineyard Haven contractor has been selected to lease and restore the old Yellow House in Edgartown after emerging as the winning bidder for the town-owned property.

On Thursday afternoon selectmen voted in favor of awarding a 30-year lease for the property for Mark Nicotera, owner of Trademark Services LLC, a construction company in Vineyard Haven. Mr. Nicotera and his partners plan to spend nearly $2 million to renovate the house at 66 Main street and turn it into apartments and retail space.

Mark Nicotera, left, and Stephen Berger, center, were only bidders left standing after public proposal process. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The vote was 2-0. Selectman Michael Donaroma did not attend the meeting.

Selectman and board chairman Arthur Smadbeck said town officials were carrying out the will of voters, who decided at the annual town meeting and election last April to take the Yellow House by eminent domain. The town paid $3 million to the former property owner, the Hall family.

“This was a very popular idea . . . and I think we’re just carrying out what the town has asked us to do and has been asking for a long time,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “I’m very pleased we found somebody to make this commitment.”

“Go to work,” selectman Margaret Serpa said.

On the advice of town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport, selectmen added a condition for Mr. Nicotera to hire two arborists, one of his choosing and another selected by the town, to make sure any work on the house does not damage an adjacent linden shade tree.

The lease terms still have to be negotiated between the town and Mr. Nicotera’s group, which includes financial backer Stephen Berger and architect Dudley Cannada.

Selectmen followed a recommendation from a special committee selected to appraise proposals for the property. The group formally selected Mr. Nicotera’s proposal on Monday. Last week the only other bidder withdrew from consideration after town officials found problems with the proposal.

Town counsel Ronald Rappaport, right, advised selectmen to require Mr. Nicotera's group to hire arborists. — Mark Lovewell

Mr. Nicotera’s group has proposed paying $49,000 in rent over 30 years, with no payment for the first 20 years, $4,000 in year 21, and $5,000 per year for the remainder of the lease. At the end of the lease, the property will revert to town ownership.

Mr. Smadbeck said the deal was in line with what the town was looking for. “What the town was looking for was somebody to come in and spend $2 million, basically, of their money on a building that they get to operate for 30 years,” he said. The house will remain a town building, he said, and continue to be property of the town after the 30-year lease is up.

“What we were looking for was somebody that was willing to make a pretty substantial investment. In the meantime it doesn’t cost the town anything to have the building completely redone for the benefit of everybody in the town,” he added.

“I’m very pleased for the town,” said Christopher Scott, who chaired the Yellow House subcommittee. “That we have a great preserved property, that a private party will be making a $2 million investment. Three affordable housing units, that’s an unanticipated benefits. It’s win-win.”

The agreement went forward despite last-minute questions raised by one of the former owner of the property, Benjamin L. Hall Jr., who pointed to the town’s earlier concerns that expanding the building’s footprint might damage the linden tree nearby. Selectmen determined the tree to be a public shade tree, and the tree’s fate was the subject of years of legal wrangling between the town and the Hall family.

Mr. Rappaport recommended hiring two arborists to make sure any work does not interfere with the tree.

Yellow House Committee chairman Chris Scott reads email from former owner to the group. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The selection processed has been closely watched since the town issued a formal request for proposals in November. More than a dozen people attended a mandatory meeting for those interested in bidding, though only two groups ended up submitting proposals, both calling for a mix of housing and retail.

Mr. Nicotera and his partners have proposed changing the vacant building into two retail spaces and three apartments. The group is in discussion with Island Housing Trust to lease the apartments as affordable housing.

In addition to negotiating a lease with the town, the project will require permits and approvals, including from the historic district commission.

“We’re very happy that we could be selected,” Mr. Nicotera told the Gazette after the meeting Thursday. While he and his partners said they plan to bring the building back to life, he said there were no plans to change the well-known color.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll make us keep it yellow,” he said.