Is The East End Going Condo Crazy?


Condominiums have always attracted a demographic that is not interested in landscaping, gardening, maintenance and home repairs. Now the Watchcase ultra-luxury condo project in Sag Harbor and the Bishops Pond high-end development in Southampton are taking it one step further by offering full amenities to owners.

One block away from Main Street, in the building that housed the 19th-century Bulova Watchcase factory, a resort-style, 64-unit “village-within-a-village” is nearing completion. The developers, Cape Advisors, are working with Baldassano Architecture and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects (whose restorations include Grand Central Terminal, Ellis Island Museum, The Morgan Library and buildings in Washington, D.C.) to restore the façade of the building to reflect its historic roots, while turning it into a full-service luxury residence. One to three bedroom condos, penthouses, and townhouses with up to five bedrooms are available ranging in price from $1 million to $10 million.

In Southampton, on Magee Street, The Beechwood Organization is nearing completion of a luxury condominium project of its own. It is a collection of 77 single-level villas and single-family townhomes ranging from $839,000 to $3 million. It too offers concierge service, has a 3,800-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness studio, billiards hall and a pond-side pool.

The full service amenities at both projects are a perk offered that have not been seen in condo developments on the East End before, according to multiple sources.

“I don’t know of any other condo projects in the Hamptons or on Long Island that are comparable with the amenities of Watchcase,” Corcoran associate broker Cee Scott Brown said during a recent telephone interview from his Sag Harbor office. “There’s a hip factor as well, there are no two units that are alike, you are getting something unique … it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that it represents.”

More than 20,000 original bricks from the factory were used in the restoration of Watchcase. The masonry was done with historically correct lime-based two-color mortar and the original look and feel of the exterior was maintained by installing a replica of the original bracketed cornice to crown the façade.

Interiors were designed by Steven Gambrel, and each floor plan is unique. There are factory lofts with high ceilings, penthouses with sweeping views, private rooftop gardens, townhouses inspired by the 18th- and 19th century homes in the village and bungalows with the modern features of newly built homes.

Gioia DiPaolo, branch manager at Douglas Elliman in Sag Harbor, said a condo is the perfect option for someone who can’t or doesn’t want to spend their time managing a property. That could include anyone from a retiree to a jet-setter, anyone with a demanding career or someone with multiple residences.

“In today’s fast-paced society, condos are a great solution to one’s need for down time, a good investment in a culture that says ‘time is money,’” Ms. DiPaolo wrote in a recent email correspondence. “Buying a condo allows more time to spend enjoying, less time spent in property management.”

The Beachwood Organization’s Steven Dubb, the builder at Bishops Pond, agrees that the turnkey living is a time-saver and also hassle free. Potential buyers at Bishops Pond will be interested in the luxury, no-fuss lifestyle, he said.

“Anybody who loves to live in the Hamptons but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of maintaining a home,” he said of who will want to live at Bishops Pond. “You can be out in Southampton Village, but not deal with landscaping, snow removal and turning off the pipes. It’s turnkey, use it, and don’t worry when you’re not there.”

The concierge service offered at Bishops Pond can make sure a client’s refrigerator is stocked with groceries before they come out for the weekend, locate dog walkers, book fishing trips, and Jitney rides to and from the city, according to Mr. Dubb.

“People have preconceived notions about condos and townhouse communities, and every person that walks through the door is amazed at what these houses look and feel like,” Mr. Dubb reported. “They feel like large homes. From that point of view it’s really unique for the area.”

The interiors are equipped with all of the finishing touches of a high-end mansion, according to information provided about Bishops Pond. Each home has 9- to 12-foot ceilings, oversize windows and custom kitchens with marble and granite countertop options. The units are 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, but Mr. Dubb said some have a basement that could be finished. The basements boast 9-foot-high ceilings. When finished, a 3,000 square foot unit becomes 4,500 square feet, he said.

Condo living is an extremely viable option for seasonal East Enders, according to Ed Bruehl, an associate broker at Sotheby’s International Realty in East Hampton. He said sometimes homeowners close their homes up for the winter, or haven’t opened them yet for the summer before the beautiful weather arrives, and then miss out on some of the best spring and fall weekends.

A lot of people from the city want to be able to show up, park their car, and be done,” he said. I think they built a terrific project [Watchcase] and they’re going to sell it out.

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