By Brandon B. QuinnA long dormant high-end condo project at 21 West Water Street in Sag Harbor, estimated to be about 90 percent finished in October 2009, is finally inching toward completion with the installation of a rooftop pool last Thursday, June 20.
Roy “Buddy” Wines IV, the president of RLW4 Construction, the general contractor in charge of the project from the beginning, was reluctant to give a projected end date for the work, but estimates that the three-story building, which will house 19 luxury apartments, will be ready for occupancy “roughly around early spring” of 2014.
The 56,000-square-foot project, which started its planning in 2006 and had shovels in the ground in December 2007, hit a snag two years later when it was discovered that permits for construction had expired. This led the suppliers of labor and materials to file millions of dollars in liens against the developer, East End Development LLC, halting progress.
Ultimately, East End Development went into bankruptcy proceedings, ending with Amalgamated Bank—the original lender for the development company—agreeing to provide “several million dollars” of debtor-in-possession financing to complete the project, according to James T. Freel, the senior vice president and chief real estate officer at Amalgamated Bank.
Mr. Freel said the bank decided to sink more money into the project in order “to create value for our collateral and maximize the value at the bankruptcy sale.” The unit prices have not been set yet because they will be determined by whoever wins the bankruptcy auction. No date for the bankruptcy sale has been set.
The recent addition of the rooftop pool, which arrived in three separate pieces and weighs more than 50,000 pounds without water, marks “significant progress,” according to Mr. Wines. The pool is 14 feet wide, 57 feet long, and 4 feet deep.
“The pool is somewhat of an engineering feat,” Mr. Wines said, noting that an additional 50,000 pounds of pressure will be placed above the heads of residents when the pool gets filled with water.
Mr. Wines said no water damage to a residence will ever occur due to the pool, because there is a secondary pool just underneath, with drains and emergency valves running into the ground.
In addition to the pool, the facade of the building is being remodeled “in order to fit with traditional Sag Harbor style better,” utilizing shingles and copper siding, as well as stone in some areas, he added.
The interior designs, which will commence as soon as the structural work is complete, are still being finalized and the contracts for the cosmetic work are still out to bid.
Mr. Wines noted that the building’s interior is still in pristine condition because, over the past four years, he has been stopping at the building every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning to inspect for damage and turn on the air conditioning or heat.
The project was originally supported wholeheartedly by the community and elected officials, as it was to be replacing a rowdy nightclub that sat on the edge of a residential area. But soon, the dormant work site and a facade that “didn’t quite fit with the community,” according to Tim McGuire, a board member of Sag Harbor’s Zoning Board of Appeals, became an often discussed issue among residents.
“I’m glad to see that they are starting work there again,” said Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride. “Hopefully, they will finish up soon and get some units up for sale. It will bring new life to the area and the community.”