Edgartown’s venerable landmark hotel, the Harbor View Hotel, will close later this month for extensive renovations, probably not to reopen until late spring next year.
Work on the kitchen, restaurant and rooms is expected to cost around $25 million and be done by May. It is the first phase of a two-year, $77 million project to refurbish and expand the hotel, which first opened in 1891.
The Harbor View and the Kelley House, an 18th century tavern which expanded to become a pub and inn complex spanning Water and Dock streets downtown, were bought last year for $45 million by a Nantucket-based investment group, Scout Real Estate LLC.
Yesterday, the principal of Scout, Alan Worden, said during the Harbor View renovations the Kelley House, which usually closes seasonally, would stay open.
He said the owners had spent three or four months looking at every possibility to keep the Harbor View open.
“The reality is, to keep it open ultimately would have meant a huge compromise on guest services. How could we affect quality food and beverage with that kind of construction going on? And to ensure we kept people essentially at full employment we decided to keep the Kelley House open all winter,” he said.
This means the pub attached to the Kelley House, the Newes from America, will serve breakfast. The menu also will be expanded to include some items from the Harbor View restaurant, the Coach House.
“We’re working on that expanded menu now,” Mr. Worden said.
The hotel’s year-round staff will all shift to the Kelley House, he said. “And the seasonal people that we made commitments to, we’re honoring, every one. So there’s very little change in employment.”
Mr. Worden said he hopes the changes to the hotel will be finished ahead of schedule.
“The goal is to sprint through the renovation of the restaurant and kitchen as quickly as we can. If we can get that open earlier than May 2008, we will do that,” he said.
Although twice as much work, in dollar terms, will be done next year, no further closure is contemplated, Mr. Worden said.
“We may close a few rooms to minimize inconvenience to some guests because of some expansion off the back of the hotel, but in one whole side of the Harbor View, probably the rooms that face the water, there will be no need to close them,” he said.
The new construction next year is expected to modify the hotel’s banquet space and add a fitness center and spa.
“I think ultimately the increase in group business will mean some additional staff. Hopefully these improvements will translate into increased food and beverage business,” Mr. Worden said, adding:
“And the service levels are going to be enhanced. That almost inevitably translates into somewhat larger staff. I wouldn’t say a profoundly different number, but probably more people.”
He said the goal is to make the Harbor View one of the finest resorts on the East Coast.
“We think there’s an opportunity to enhance even further the wedding business which has been hugely popular at the Harbor View,” he said.
Though the Harbor View will be closed this winter, another Edgartown venue, Outerland, won approval from selectmen last week for a year-round liquor license.
It is expected to open three or four nights a week between 6:30 and 8 p.m. for food and drinks.