With an offer on seven town-owned office condominium units at the Pantigo Place complex in East Hampton, which is close to Town Hall, from a buyer who wants to close the sale immediately, the East Hampton Town Board agreed Tuesday to put the word out publicly that the units are for sale, allowing other potential buyers to match the offer.
Should a sale occur, the town would have to lease the offices, which house the fire marshals, Building Department, Planning Department, tax assessors and receivers, Department of Natural Resources, Information Technology Department, Ordinance Enforcement, town engineer, and the zoning, planning, and architectural review boards, from the new owner until a new home is found for those employees.
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, who outlined the situation for the board earlier this week, said the would-be buyer had asked the board to announce that the units are on the market, in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or “favor.”
The amount offered was not announced, but Ms. Quigley said appraisers had set a market value of $3 million for all seven units and that the offer was close to that amount.
Selling the office condominiums, which cost the town $145,000 annually in maintenance, was part of an overall plan, set in motion by the previous town administration, that included creating a new office complex from repurposed historic buildings on the town hall campus. As a second stage, the board had discussed rehabbing the old Town Hall building to accommodate the departments now on Pantigo Place, and selling those offices.
“The initial idea came up early last year — what I thought would be a need to consolidate on the campus,” Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said Tuesday. “I had originally thought that we could rehabilitate that building. The purpose was in some way to get cash for the rehabilitation.”
The condition of the old Town Hall put that plan in question. Mr. Wilkinson said an engineer had estimated that it would cost $500,000 just to make the building structurally sound.
The board has not discussed an alternate plan to house any of the outlying town departments, which include not only those at the Pantigo Place complex but also offices in Amagansett, at the Lamb Building on Bluff Road.