The site of the former Stern’s department store in East Hampton—and, before that, Gertz—is on the market.
The approximately 4-acre property is listed for $7 million with Keith Green and Ann Ciardullo of Sotheby’s International Realty. Mr. Green said they were “very, very excited to have Sotheby’s name out there in front of it,” on a “For Sale” sign that recently went up at the front of the property on Pantigo Road.
The land is zoned for 1-acre residential use and not yet subdivided, Mr. Green said, adding that it would most likely yield three house lots. He noted that the property is relatively flat, with some mature trees, a berm and a mansion at the rear, as well as close proximity to Cross Highway, “which takes you down to the beach.”
The abandoned department store buildings—really, a collection of barns joined by walkways—were bulldozed in 2011.
Before its retail days, the property had been the site of the East Hampton Riding Academy, where a young Jacqueline Bouvier rode a trusty steed named Buttercup. One remembrance at the website of the Department Store Museum—yes, one exists—notes that an upscale, summer-only Stern Brothers predated the Gertz store in East Hampton, which in the 1980s was folded into the ownership of and again assumed the name of Stern’s. In turn, Stern’s was then swallowed by Macy’s, which closed the East Hampton operation to focus on its store in Hampton Bays.
Beginning in the 1990s, the East Hampton property was leased for about a decade to A&P, which hoped to redevelop it with a large supermarket—but failed, after a storm of controversy that inspired East Hampton Town to institute a ban on superstores. According to the town assessors office, the owner for many years has been Heller Design Inc. Profit Share Plan, investors based in New York City.
“We think this is a prime development opportunity,” Mr. Green said recently. “You’re seeing an awful lot of construction on Woods Lane and Pantigo Road. It’s time for those miscellaneous properties that are so well situated to be brought to life by developers.”
So far, Mr. Green said, there has been “a lot of very positive interest.”