Hygeia House changes hands
The Hygeia House, located on Beach Avenue, was recently purchased from Champ Starr and Lisa Starr by Matt O’Hayer. Lisa Starr will operate the inn through the end of the 2015 summer season, and O’Hayer said he plans to remodel the building during the winter of 2015/2016. He said he is not yet sure if the house will continue to be marketed as a bed and breakfast following the remodeling, or if the Hygeia will be rented out for events.
O’Hayer has strong ties to the island; he graduated from the Block Island School, and washed dishes at Smuggler’s as a teenager. Though he resides in Austin, Texas, for most of the year, O’Hayer has been coming to Block Island over the years since, and has lived on the island for the past six summers. He’s also been a friend of the Starrs for years, he said, and thought that owning property on the island would be an “interesting challenge.” The Hygeia, O’Hayer said, has a lot of potential.
O’Hayer said that perhaps the most impressive aspect of the change of ownership is that he and the Starrs have managed to keep the switch a secret for about 11 months. — Lily O’Gara