The Southampton Town Board hired an architectural firm last week to assist in the renovation of the former Neptune Beach Club building that was acquired by the town last fall.
The town will pay Water Mill-based Chaleff & Rogers $18,000 to help determine what parts of the boarded-up, former nightclub on Dune Road can be stripped away without disrupting the historical integrity of the building, which the Town Board hopes to renovate and reopen as a museum.
“As far as I know, we’ve only been give the go-ahead for stripping back the superfluous and other crazy additions that the property has been subject to since it was a life-saving station,” said Bill Chaleff, one of the architectural firm’s primary partners. “The idea is to take it back to how it was before, when it was a life-saving station.”
Mr. Chaleff said his partner, Paul Rogers, will be leading the effort and hopes to begin the process of evaluating the Hampton Bays property within the next month. Chaleff & Rogers has been in the business for nearly 30 years and has been hired by the town in the past to handle the renovation plans of the Lyzon Hat Shop in Hampton Bays, the Big Duck Ranch in Flanders and the replacement of historic windows at Town Hall.
“They have a demonstrated experience and expertise in historic projects, they’ve worked with us in the past,” Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund manager Mary Wilson said. “Our experience has been very good, it’s a firm that cares a lot about historic buildings in the town.”
Mr. Rogers said he was first approached by the town last winter and asked to draw up a schematic of how the former Neptune property could be tied in with the neighboring property that was once Summers Beach Club before being acquired by the town. Both properties were purchased using the town’s Community Preservation Fund.
“We document the building, identify the parts that are original and historic and find out what the building looked like originally,” Mr. Rogers said. “We don’t go beyond that.”
The building is set to be converted into a museum recognizing the all-black Coast Guard crew that manned the life-saving station that was housed in the building during World War II. It was the second all-black station in the country.
The museum would be open for self-guided tours, with old photographs and antiquated Coast Guard equipment on display around the interior of the building. Early plans also call for a concession stand on the site.