Island Grown Initiative purchased an old warehouse in Oak Bluffs last week as part of a plan to relocate its Island Food Pantry operation from the Portuguese American Club.

IGI bought 114 and 116 Dukes County avenue from DC Studios LLC on May 12 for $1.72 million. The purchase ends a five-year search for a permanent home for the nonprofit's pantry, IGI said in a statement Tuesday.

IGI moved the food pantry from the Vineyard Haven United Methodist church to the P.A. Club in 2021 in response to increased demand and space needs.

The Holy Ghost Association, which owns the P.A. Club building, granted IGI a two-year lease with a one-year extension option while programming was shut down for Covid. That lease expires in early 2024.

“We are so grateful to the P.A. Club for hosting us the last three years, but understandably they want and need to utilize the building for their own programs,” said IGI executive director Rebecca Haag. “The Pantry needs a secure location to serve the community.”

Ms. Haag said the organization anticipates the need to spend another $500,000 to renovate the building, which previously served as a car repair shop and music venue. Even with the additional expense, converting an existing building is estimated to be between $3 million and $5 million cheaper than building a new building from scratch.

“It was an opportunity we could not pass up,” Ms. Haag said.

The Dukes County avenue building has existing warehouse space which will significantly increase IGI’s food storage space, as well as a parking lot and proximity to the Vineyard Transit Authority route.

The move comes at a critical time for the pantry program, which has seen a significant rise in their user base. Monthly visits have gone up from 742 in 2019 to 2000 in 2022.