Greystone Development and East End Ventures are moving swiftly ahead with plans to develop their waterfront property in Sag Harbor Village, much to the dismay of village officials who hoped to transform the land into a public park.
Last week the developers announced that Robert A.M. Stern Architects would design 11 private luxury condominiums for the property. According to the CEO of Greystone, Jeffrey Simpson, construction could be completed by 2018.
The roughly 1.8-acre site, at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road and 2 West Water Street, is adjacent to a triangular piece of property the village owns, just south of the Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter Memorial Bridge. Despite the village’s eleventh-hour attempts to purchase the private properties for public use through Southampton Town’s Community Preservation Fund, the owners continue to have no interest in selling, Mr. Simpson said Friday.
The idea for a park on the property the village already owns was revisited after more than a decade last year with an eye toward expanding it to include the privately owned property. Landscape architect Edmund Hollander planned to design the park to have walking paths, places to sit and bike racks, as well as native maritime and grass plantings. Also, the park would have been illuminated at night.
Instead, the developers plan to build eight units in a staggered, townhouse style at 1,3 and 5 Ferry Road, which currently is home to two vacant buildings, one of which used to be a medical center and both of which would be torn down. Each condominium would look slightly different from the others, although the units would be linked on the lower level by pavilions. This portion of the development would evoke a 19th-century whaling village, with each unit adorned with different-colored shingles and shutters, as well as white columns.
At 2 West Water Street, which is now home to a vacant white building that had been owned by attorney Bruce Davis, the remaining three condos would be designed to resemble shingle-style stables.
Mr. Simpson stressed that that property will “continue to stay in its current shape; it is just completely redesigned,” explaining that the current building will be reinterpreted from inside to outside but stay in the same place on the lot.
The 11 condominium units would total 30,000 square feet, with each condo measuring from 2,500 to 3,000 square feet, Mr. Simpson said. Each unit would have its own porch overlooking the water, a roof-deck plunge pool and an individual garage.
“It appears they are individual houses even though they are not—that is the whole trick,” Mr. Simpson said. “That is the extent of exclusivity, because spending the kind of money for high-end projects in the Hamptons, you want privacy, you want to feel like you have your own unit.” He declined to say even approximately how much each condo would sell for.
“I’ve seen the renderings and they look like a pretty picture,” said Village Mayor Sandra Schroeder on Friday. “But it is not my choice of what the waterfront property should look like … I thought it would be nice to have something for the public, and not just people showing up to make money,” she said.
Sag Harbor Village Planning Board Chairman Gregory Ferraris noted that, although the renderings have been unveiled, the owners have yet to submit a formal application to the Village Planning Board, as well as go through the environmental review process required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
Mr. Ferraris said he had also seen the architectural renderings but that he would not comment on the project until the board receives an official application.
Mr. Simpson said that the Planning Board and ARB did not have any negative comments on the preliminary plans. “The Planning Board was very excited at what they saw; it is all positives,” he said.
For a public purchase of the property using CPF money to go through, there would need to be a willing seller. Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. said that while the village is pursuing the CPF route, it has two other options to acquire the property: condemnation through eminent domain and a site plan condition set by the Planning Board.
When asked if the village would pursue eminent domain, Mr. Thiele said, “I never say never.” There is an inherent risk in that option, he said, as the village can never gauge what a court would determine the fair market value of the property to be. In other words, it could be much higher than the appraised value, which has not yet been revealed by Southampton Town. For this option, the village would instead need to find another source of funding to acquire the property, because the CPF cannot be used for a condemnation.
If the village decides to go that route, “the [village] board will weigh the value of public purpose and how important it is to them versus the risk of what the court might determine the value to be,” Mr. Thiele said.
The second option, which is less desirable, Mr. Thiele said, would be for the Planning Board to require the developers to dedicate a portion of the property to a public park as part of its site plan approval.
The property owners have said that there will be a public access point to the waterfront, which will be parallel to the bridge on the far northern edge of the property. “That is absolutely there to stay,” Mr. Simpson insisted.
Greystone development also announced last week that Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers International will be in charge of selling the residences.
“We are very excited about the project, excited to work closely with the village and deliver the highest quality product,” Mr. Simpson said. “It is a really luxurious design that fits contextually with the Village of Sag Harbor, and we are thrilled that the community likes the design.”