Developer offers major extension for EduComp building
Plans for a major redevelopment of the old EduComp building in Vineyard Haven are being submitted to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for review.
The proposal is to create a new mixed-use development by gutting and renovating the existing 7,686 square foot structure, leaving the existing exterior and constructing a 16,800 square foot addition to the rear of the building. The renovated part will have three floors and the new addition will have four. There would be 17 parking spaces and four garage spaces.
The new addition would include up to seven commercial or office condo units, 15 bicycle storage spaces and a rear garage, as well as units on the upper floors.
The plaintiff is Xerxes Aghassipour, a real estate developer called Xerxes Agassi, obtained a purchase and sale contract to purchase the building. The amount of the sale was not disclosed.
The upper residential floors would include 15 one- and two-bedroom residential condo units ranging in size from 640 to 1,629 square feet for a total of 22 bedrooms.
Two of the units would be affordable and limited to 80 percent of the area’s median income (MAI). Three housing units for the workforce are also on offer and are expected to be used by Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, according to Agassi.
In a letter to the commission, hospital financial director Edward Olivier said the hospital has other leases with Agassi’s company.
“The Hospital, along with many other Island employers, has been severely affected by the shortage of affordable rental housing. The completion of the 4 State Road project will be an obvious help in solving the challenge of providing adequate housing for workers on the island, ”Olivier wrote.
The roof of the building would become a garden terrace with amenities such as a private jacuzzi and spa. Part of the roof would be reserved as a private terrace for one of the units.
Agassi said he was drawn to the beauty of the building.
“I think it’s a really iconic building, it’s a beautiful building,” he said. “We are looking to restore all the brick work, restore the metal roof and expand it in the same character and theme. “
The brick building was constructed by the Sawyer Construction Company around 1929 as the headquarters of the New England Telephone Company. When the island converted to rotary phones in the early 1960s, the team of operators was phased out. In the 1970s and 1980s, the building housed the Island Youth Center of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. EduComp then moved into the building in the 1980s and closed shop last year. The Town of Tisbury briefly considered using the building as a classroom for the Tisbury School and a future Town Hall. Currently, it houses offices for an architect, writer, interior designer, and tutoring services.
The 4 State Road property is owned by the family of the late Dorothy and Pat Gregory, who founded EduComp.
Agassi purchased several properties under various LLCs on the vineyard between 2017 and 2021, including five in Oak Bluffs, two in Tisbury and one in Edgartown. Additionally, he bought a house in Vineyard Haven in 2013. Agassi also owns a property on Nantucket.
According to public records, two of his companies, KXA Capital LLC and Delano & Co. LLC, both have addresses listed at the Vineyard Haven Post Office.
Delano & Co. is described as a “full service property management company located on Martha’s Vineyard.” We have the local knowledge and expertise to meet your needs across the island. We professionally manage all aspects of maintenance and repairs and pride ourselves on offering convenient and comprehensive services to help homeowners maintain their properties with minimal stress. We employ a team of trusted contractors to solve a range of maintenance issues including: plumbing, electrical, boiler & HVAC, roofing, painting, landscaping and more. “
The property is part of an area of sensitive archaeological resources called “Site Vincent”. Agassi is working with the Public Archaeological Laboratory (PAL) in Rhode Island to conduct an intensive archaeological investigation, which was commissioned by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The neighboring 10 State Road property was the subject of an archaeological survey in 2010.
The project received conditional approval from the city’s wastewater service. Agassi asked to hook up to the city’s sewer for a total of 2,578 gallons per day, of which 652 were paid as an improvement to the city. Conditional approval depends on the final approval of the VMC.
Joseph Grillo, a mainstay of the project, said he was in negotiations with Agassi over traffic entering and exiting the proposed building.
Erik Hammarlund, another pillar of the project, said it was an extraordinarily tall building.
“This is both inappropriate for the site in general, sets a poor precedent for the town of Vineyard Haven and future development,” he said. “It looks like something that would reasonably belong next to a large mill near a factory, but not so much next to the Veterans Memorial Park.”
The public hearing continued until November 4.
“There is a lot in motion here and we need a definitive plan before we can decide on a request,” said Commissioner Douglas Sederholm.