Town and Developer Reach Deal for Sag Harbor Village Waterfront Park

Jamie Bufalino

Southampton Town has struck a deal with Jay Bialsky, a real estate developer, to purchase more than 1.25 acres of waterfront property in Sag Harbor Village's business district for $10.5 million. The deal, which is not yet in contract, according a lawyer for the town, could clear the way for the creation of the proposed John Steinbeck Waterfront Park.

"We are absolutely thrilled beyond words," Mayor Sandra Schroeder said in a statement detailing the purchase, which will be made using money from the town's community preservation fund. "This acquisition will transform the last remaining open space on the harbor into a world-class park."

The parcels of land that the town is planning to acquire on the village's behalf include 1, 3, and 5 Ferry Road, on the Sag Harbor side of the bridge that leads to North Haven. For more than a decade, the lots have been blighted with abandoned buildings, including the defunct Harborview Professional Building.

Earlier this year, Mr. Bialsky had purchased the properties as well as 2 West Water Street, better known as the 1-800-Lawyer residence, from Greystone Property Development, a Manhattan real estate company.

In an appearance before the town board in 2015, a development manager from Greystone made it clear that the company was planning to use all of the land to build condominiums and was adamantly opposed to selling any of it to the town. More recently, the company had neared an agreement to sell the Ferry Road parcels to the town, but ultimately sold them to Mr. Bialsky.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Mr. Bialsky met on April 30 to discuss the possibility of a sale. Later that week, Mr. Schneiderman said that the talks had gone well, but that no deal was in place.

Last week, the Southampton Town Board authorized the use of community preservation fund money to buy the property and a deal was struck soon after.

"We are very, very pleased that Mr. Bialsky has accepted our offer for the Ferry Road property," said Mr. Schneiderman, who added that building a park instead of a condo complex would play a vital role in preserving Sag Harbor's historic character.

As proposed by the village, the Steinbeck park will be linked by land and water to Windmill Park and Long Wharf and will feature a beach area, a fishing and small boat pier, and a pedestrian walkway.

Mr. Bialsky will retain under an acre of land at 2 West Water Street, which he plans to develop into three townhouse residences with boat slips.