For Islanders who have passed by or sought out groceries at Stop & Stop stores in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven in recent days, one thing is clear: Change is finally underway.

After years of planning and legal wrangling, the beginning phases of an estimated $10.5 million expansion and renovation of Edgartown’s busy Upper Main Street store have begun in earnest. Construction workers from Harwich-based Robert B. Our Co. are now clearing the way for the construction of a 16,000-square-foot addition to the west side of the supermarket, renovating the existing structure, relocating a drive-through bank and redesigning the parking lot of the store, which hasn’t seen a major update since 1989.

With its worn linoleum and cluttered aisles, the store draws more shoppers than fans.

“We’re used to having these big, bright, beautiful stores,” said Maura Casey, a seasonal resident from Needham, Massachusetts.

Ms. Casey says she prefers the ambiance of Edgartown Meat and Fish Market, but likes the prices at Stop & Shop.

On the drawing board for years, the project was approved by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in 2018 and subsequently approved at the local level by the Edgartown planning board.

But plans were stalled when Edgartown attorney Benjamin Hall Jr. sued the planning board in 2018 in land court, filing a string of motions that alleged various procedural missteps and claiming the value of abutting property owned by his family would be harmed by the project. The legal action dragged on for three years, but was ultimately dismissed by the appeals court.

More recently, Mr. Hall filed suit in Dukes County Superior Court on July 11 alleging that the MVC approval received by Stop & Shop in February 2018 expired in February 2020 and therefore the work currently underway at the Edgartown store was proceeding without permission.

Vineyard Haven attorney Geoghan Coogan, who represents Stop & Shop, said in an email to the Gazette Tuesday that the company was in process of responding to the lawsuit and Stop & Shop has since filed an emergency motion to dismiss the claim.

“As stated by the Town of Edgartown’s counsel, all permits are valid and were extended properly and timely,” he said. “We will continue to work toward a full completion date, inside and out, before June 1 of 2023 to serve the island.”

Reade Milne, Edgartown building inspector, said permits were issued to begin construction in June. The town’s building department, Ms. Milne said, is working closely with the contractor and other town entities, including the board of health, the water and wastewater departments, police and fire, and the highway department.

“It’s important for everyone to be on the same page,” Ms. Milne said.

At Stop & Shop’s Water street store in Vineyard Haven, Mr. Coogan said, phase one of the demolition of the adjacent former Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant space was completed several weeks ago.

“That building will be fully removed this fall, as soon as we are able to do so safely, and not interrupt the summer season,” he said.

What’s also needed for the Vineyard Haven store’s renovation is the relocation of the Caleb Prouty House, a vacant antique home, one of the few buildings to survive an 1883 fire that swept through the town.

“Several interested parties are willing to move the house on Cromwell Avenue to a new location in town,” Mr. Coogan wrote in his email to the Gazette.

He noted that the company would need to go back to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for approval of any relocation.

“(B)ut that would ideally be the next step on the Tisbury site,” he added. “Plans for a renovation of the property are currently in the very early planning stages. We hope to have some informal plans this fall and will start to work with the town most likely over the late fall and winter before finalizing a submission.”