Sag Harbor Looks Again at Waterfront Development

The plan was to merge five parcels, demolish an abandoned building, and construct a new three-and-a-half story, 50,000-square-foot building with 21 residential units and a rooftop swimming pool
Several abandoned Sag Harbor waterfront buildings are under consideration for redevelopment as condominiums. Carrie A Salvi Photo

   Another attempt is in the works to develop vacant or unused properties at the Sag Harbor end of the Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge, including parcels on Ferry Road and buildings on West Water Street.

   A look at architectural renderings and a discussion of preliminary plans, which took place at a planning board meeting on Aug. 27, came after a history of applications dating back to 2005, and paperwork that fills several boxes in Village Hall. Lawsuits, unpaid construction workers, and opposition from neighbors in the past have stalled plans.

    “It’s an unsightly piece of land,” said Neil Slevin, the planning board chairman. The goal, he said, is to make “absolutely certain that what we end up with is in the best interest of this village, not necessarily in the best interest of the developer.”

    Timothy McCully, a Burke and Sullivan attorney representing Emil Talel and Michael Maidan, the developers, explained that the plan was to merge five parcels,  demolish an abandoned building, and construct a new three-and-a-half story, 50,000-square-foot building with 21 residential units and a rooftop swimming pool. Parking would be in 29 spaces below ground and in 13 spots at street level. Some outside parking would also be available next to the 7-Eleven store, which is frequently used for public parking, he said.

    In addition to the new multi-unit building, the developers intend to renovate the existing three-story building at 2 West Water Street, a white elephant known locally as the 1-800-Lawyer building. It would wind up with three residential units, each with a two-car garage. Separately, at 6 Water Street, they also propose six retail shops and eight residential units. No affordable housing would be offered, Mr. McCully told the board; a contribution to the village trust fund for housing would be made instead. A marina with public access is proposed, along with a boardwalk and beach access.

    Frank Greenwald, an East Hampton architect, showed the board the detailed renderings, saying the project would incorporate several architectural styles reflecting the waterfront’s history. The new construction would, he said, “soften and green the intersection beside La Superica.” His design would “break it up as much as possible with “independent-looking buildings with residential architecture . . . interesting roof lines that copy some in the village.” He also said the developers would provide open space for a half-acre public park.

    “That property already is a public park,” Mr. Slevin said, although “it is not managed and treated as such.”

    Residents now go to the area, with its dilapidated buildings and dock, at their own risk, he said.

    Greg Ferraris, a board member and former village mayor, said the proposal “looks a lot more attractive,” but the “devil is in the details.”

    It is not yet clear what the various regulations involved would be, especially since a part of the land is waterfront, and the plans would require State Environmental Quality Review Act review. Denise Schoen, the board’s attorney, however, said the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee would be involved as well as the zoning board of appeals. She told the applicants’ attorney that she would be in touch when they have an environmental consultant on board.

    Richard Warren, the Sag Harbor Village planning consultant, said he would make himself “unavailable to review this application,” which Mr. Ferraris said was “understandable,” although that was not explained.
    Mr. Slevin said the area is well delineated in the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and the zoning code, and warned the attorney that he would ask the developers to “show us what you could do on the property without any variances.”

    “I for one, have no problem,” Jack Taglisacchi, a board member, said, adding, “It’s a complicated process, no doubt about it.”

Detailed drawings of a waterfront “entrance” to Sag Harbor were presented to the village’s planning board. Frank Greenwald Illustration