Gurney's Inn
July 11, 2007

Realty Takes

The Grand Hamptons Hotel Phenomenon

Once unheard of, then very new, now looking like it's here to stay – what I call the Grand Hamptons Hotel phenomenon: This news from Hampton Homes' industry veterans Barbara Weinman and Jan Robinson. "Seeing lots of weekly and two week rental customers, We are doing quite a few. Why not? So much on the market, prices still seem strong, very few good deals, more activity as of late."

(Everything but room service. And we had heard that sometimes that's offered, too.)

Laura Scott, Prudential Douglas Elliman, Dot Herman's right hand, gives an overview of their operation: "Celebrating its 10th anniversary in the Hamptons, Prudential Douglas Elliman earned respect as a high end player in Southampton and Bridgehampton some time ago. The numbers in East Hampton, however, while impressive, had been built on smaller sales. That's changing," Miss Scott asserts, then goes on to tell us how: "Earlier this year young superstar Bryan Midlam, 25, took the Two Mile Hollow oceanfront Liz Robbins listing – which had languished on the market for almost two years – and sold it for very near full asking price in just three weeks. Ray Smith from Prudential's Southampton office brought the buyer.

"Bryan Midlam isn't resting on his laurels, or the nice commission check. He was the point man on Prudential Douglas Elliman's new $23 million listing, waterfront on Hook Pond, which he shares with managing broker, Tom MacNiven. High end legend John Golden, also in Prudential Douglas Elliman's East Hampton office, has the $26 million Montauk oceanfront Peter Beard listing."

Long time broker and key executive, Paul Brennan, from Prudential's Bridgehampton office, suggests an interesting phenomenon. He writes ". . . from 2000 on it appears to be the decade of the spec builder. They appear to be driving the market by buying the land, building and selling their 'finished' product. It seems like individualism is out and 'instant' is in . . ."

Nice to hear from Wainscott's Diana Weir, former East Hampton Town Councilwoman, presently Executive Vice President of the Long Island Housing Partnership, Inc. Diana Weir sent a Newsday piece about Project Green House: "Built halfway into the earth of East Hampton, the house is 90 percent sustainable with eco-friendly design by architect Edvin Karl Stromsten . . . Stromsten, 77, spent roughly $500,000 on the house.

"Project Green House is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house [that] saves energy with a geothermal heating and cooling system and insulation. During the winter, concrete floors and walls absorb heat during the day and release it at night. Glass faces south for maximum winter sun exposure while limiting direct high sun in the summer. Underground north and east walls maintain a constant temperature of 52 degrees, reducing the need for heat and air conditioning. Photovoltaic roof panels provide electricity."

After thanking her, we wrote back to Diana: On Cedar Street close to Stephen Hand's Path in East Hampton, just such an "underground house" was built back in the '70s (of course with whatever the technology was 35 years ago) when Judith Hope and Ian Marceau and the Group for America's South Fork were introducing the new environmentalist concept to East Hampton. That house has solar panels as well.

Thanks to Bob Cohen of Hamptons Fine Homes who e-mailed a correction as to an earlier Realty Takes column. The luxury tax is one percent on homes a million or more and the Community Preservation tax is two percent.

As difficult (and as costly!) as it is to try to find a home in the Hamptons, former real estate editor Susan Galardi (who created an in residence section 2 1/2 years ago) found a home for her children's musical, Who is Natalie Spoo?, at the Children's Museum of the East End at 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike for two performances this summer. They will be held on Wednesday, July 25 and Wednesday, August 15. Showtime 6:30 p.m.

In the summer, East End real estate seems like an even stranger business.

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