With the crush of a sledgehammer and the grind of heavy machinery, construction has finally begun on the long-awaited Yellow House renovation project in the heart of Edgartown.

A crew of about a dozen men was hammering away at the windows, siding, and interior of the dilapidated building on Tuesday morning, as curious passers-by and onlookers craned their heads to get a look at the work on the generally-quiet corner of Summer and Main streets. Wood pallets and excavators were also present at the site.

According to contractor Gerret Conover, who is spearheading the project and spoke at a recent selectmen’s meeting, the first phase of construction will involve the installation of fencing and work on the building’s foundation. After gutting the necessary portions of the structure, Mr. Conover plans to lift the house with the help of John Keene excavation. Footings and foundation work will then happen the week of Oct. 28, with work on the building’s deck coming on Nov. 1.

He plans to be finished before Memorial Day.

The town took the run-down building by eminent domain from the Hall family for $3 million in 2017. After a number of legal skirmishes and many rounds of permitting, the town signed a 30-year lease with the Celeste family earlier this year. Preliminary plans for the structure include two retail shops on the first floor and three rental apartments on the second and third floors.

The Celeste family also owns Rosewater Market and Takeaway on Summer street, and recently opened a children’s clothing store called Rosebud on a former small retail building on the Yellow House property.

Chris Scott, a member of the town historic district commission who has been involved with the project since its nascent days, said it was exciting to finally see work being done on the historic site in the center of downtown.

“It’s very gratifying,” Mr. Scott said. “I was standing at the site this morning. [Edgartown building inspector] Lenny Jason happened to be there at the same time. We were commenting on what a long process this has been.”

He continued:

“That is such an important building to the historic district. And that has been derelict for far too long.”