Gurney's Inn
June 20, 2007

Realty Takes

Replacing The Old With The Older And Other News

East Hampton's new town hall idea is taking a hit from a real estate pro from the other part of the Hamptons, saying (irreverently), "a dumb idea, taking 200 year-old shacks and making a town hall out of it. Of course, $2 million . . . [the amount donated to go along with the gift to the town of the buildings] . . . won't be enough to make those old structures function like a new office."

Drive by, when you have a chance. Components of the new look are right there to view the homes that represent the architecture of the town's heritage.

The 40-acre property on which the houses had sat was sold for over $100 million, setting a national record for unimproved property. As of a month ago, a town hall source revealed to the above observer that the town had not yet collected the two percent CPF tax on the transaction which was set up as a corporate sale of shares rather than a straightforward real estate deal. The latter shows up in the transfers, while the share structure does not.

(The law says that even if the property does not change hands, only shares in the property do, real estate tax is still owed by the seller.) This column predicts they will get around to it. After all, deals this big are not made every day,; they can take some time. Even in the Hamptons.

(Talk about heritage, we did run into veteran broker John Strong (the Strong family arrived in the 1660s) whose brother Jim, I believe, was one of the founders of the Long Lost Tribe of Accabonac. Mr. Strong has sold everything on the ocean from here to Quogue, several times. And then several times again! He is still active in the business, John Strong Real Estate.)

In Montauk things are happening at the new Panoramic Villas. The once-popular seasonal motel on the ocean is owned by the French family who formed an "alliance with Distinctive Ventures LLC," to transform the motel to the privately-owned Villas with top-of-the-line everything, plus a 24-hour concierge. Renovations on 23 Villas started in January of this year. They are on the market, reads the press release, for $2.55 million.

Jane Babcook, The Corcoran Group, Sag Harbor – a world class equestrian, current member of Sag Harbor's Wednesday night Racing Sailboat crew, and premier broker – shares a view of the Sag Harbor market with Realty Takes. Investment properties, that is to say, prime waterfront on the bay is going for over $5 million, and $3.5 million in the historic districts of the old whaling village that was once – in the 19th century – the Port of New York. Miss Babcook has an exclusive featuring a rare 1-acre lot on Jermain asking $3.5 million.

So things look good from Sag Harbor to Montauk and incredible in the middle for Further Lane in East Hampton Village. (Sag Harbor is hot! But this hot? Who'd have ever thunk it? With less than 1/2 acre lots bringing in from $600K to $800k.)

But here's some real estate (look it's a place, right?) you want to stay away from. There are adverse influences despite the unimaginable size of the site and the privacy. Russian computers that control the international space station's orientation and supply of oxygen and water have failed, potentially extending the space shuttle's mission, or cutting it short. Russian engineers aren't sure why the computers stopped working. A failure of this type has never occurred before on the space station. (On the second day they had not yet found a solution.) Prognosis, officals say, is reassuring.

Are Piping Plovers the only ones safe on this planet? East Hampton Village is thinking of pushing back to August, as they did last year, the annual July 4th fireworks celebration to protect the Plovers' (an endangered species) nesting time.

Are we an endangered species, as well? I know we are a dangerous one.

Writing about Lori Barbaria's new book for success (Prudential Elliman star) I asked David Oshman of Nest Seekers, International – he had sent us a release as to that firm's moving into Sag Harbor – when we will see his book. "My book is published. It's not about real estate. The title is Avoiding Capture." There is a website.

Talking about "incredible Further Lane," the following news found in the NY Post is the kind of stuff that only the Further Lane affluent can afford. A 'battle of the bushes' screamed the headline. (not the Father and the Son.) Yet one more East End skirmish between neighbors – a Goldman Sachs biggie and a hedge fund "billionaire" – quarreling over widths of access and hedgerow encroachment on a deeded path to the ocean beach. Unresolved friendly, so "mow-em-down and litigate" – Bill Esseks, esq. vs. Chris Kelley, esq. representing opposite sides are in full gear.

East End real estate? A strange business.

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The New Listing of the Week is offered free to brokers on a rotating basis. Please submit a JPEG photo of the property along with a WORD document with the listing information to, attn: Rick. There is no charge for the placement.

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