The Arizona company looking to build an 18-hole golf course and luxury housing development in East Quogue now also has its sights set on an oceanfront property in Westhampton Beach Village.
Discovery Land Company is in the process of purchasing the Dune Deck co-op on Dune Road, with the intent of demolishing the existing structures and replacing them with new four new buildings that would serve as a high-end hotel.
The development company plans to replace the existing 69 studio-style units with 66 single-bedroom hotel rooms, as well as construct a new restaurant, which, like Saltwater Grill—the current 190-seat restaurant operating at the site—will be open to the public. The majority of the development, except a small sliver of the pool area, would be at least 75 feet from the crest of the dune, and the buildings would be constructed higher off the ground, because the property falls within the village’s Coastal Erosion Hazard Area and is prone to flooding, according to documents on file with Westhampton Beach.
“We figure approximately 14 months to complete the project once we start construction,” Discovery Land Vice President Mark Hissey said this week, adding that he hopes to break ground soon, even though the deal has not been finalized yet. “As with all these types of projects, it’s an ASAP situation.”
Mr. Hissey said he was not privy to the cost of the 4.8-acre parcel, but Southampton Town records show it was appraised at $6.8 million earlier this year. He also said it is not yet clear how much the hotel project would cost his company.
The property at 379 Dune Road is now owned by the Dune Deck Owners Corporation, and rooms are rented out on a nightly basis during the spring and summer. This past season rooms were rented out for between $329 and $479 per night, from May 23 to July 31, and for $379 to $549 per night from August 1 to September 1, according to the website.
The complex is closed for the winter, and company representatives did not respond to messages left for them earlier this week.
After going before the Westhampton Beach Village Planning Board on November 13, Discovery Land, which submitted site plans and other applications under the name DLV DD, LLC, was referred to the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals to seek a special exemption permit. The permit is required because the proposed hotel would not conform to the conditions of the village’s R-3 Residential zoning district, which is limited to single-family detached dwellings.
David Gilmartin, the Water Mill-based attorney representing Discovery Land, said he thinks the village’s Planning Board reacted favorably to the proposal and he expects it to receive the same kind of welcome from the zoning board, although plan alterations are still possible.
Buildings within the R-3 zone are not supposed to be more than 32 feet from base floor to roof pitch, and they are not supposed to be more than 40 feet above the average sea level. However, Discovery Land is requesting permission to construct buildings with total heights of 46 feet, 43.7 feet and 47 feet, respectively, as well as a 52-foot-tall cupola tower.
Westhampton Beach Building and Zoning Administrator Paul Houlihan said the company is requesting these heights for practical reasons, such as making room for elevators and getting the buildings to an appropriate height above sea level, as well as for aesthetic purposes in the case of the cupola.
Most of the existing structures were built in the 1950s, and much of the infrastructure is antiquated, Mr. Houlihan noted. “It’s a mess down there,” he said. “It’s really taken a beating. It was built, like, 40-some years ago, and buildings just don’t last that long in that kind of environment.”
Mr. Hissey said his company plans on replacing the current septic system with a more up-to-date one, although he anticipates still using cesspools rather than more sophisticated methods, such as the Nitrix wastewater treatment system.
Between the four buildings, the development would total 32,141 square feet, a slight reduction from the current 32,264-square-foot complex. There would be 101 parking spaces on the property, including 20 that would be housed under the western buildings.
Mr. Gilmartin said it is unclear if the hotel rooms would be owned individually or collectively, but he said they would not be condominiums and they would be intended for transient use. He added that the complex, if approved, would not add any children to the Westhampton Beach School District.
“This is going to be a high-end hotel,” he said.
Discovery Land is pitching a mixed-use planned development district by the name of The Hills at Southampton that would consist of an 18-hole golf course, 108 single-family luxury homes and 10 condominiums near Spinney Road in East Quogue. That project, which would require that the Southampton Town Board first grant a change of zone, is still in the application stage.
Mr. Hissey said the project in East Quogue and the hotel in Westhampton Beach are independent of one another, though he expects that residents of the housing development would have access to the hotel and, in turn, hotel visitors would have access to the golf course in East Quogue.
“They’re completely separate projects, but there will be some reciprocal arrangements between the two properties,” he said.