Bid Now: Bargain Oceanfront Rental

Carissa Katz

What could be the best rental deal in the Hamptons just came on the market for the summer season. One of the coveted oceanfront Sea Spray Cottages, vestiges from the glory days of the Sea Spray Inn, which dated from 1840 and burned down in 1978, can be had by the highest bidder.

East Hampton Village, which owns the 13 cottages near Main Beach, is soliciting bids for the summer season through 2 p.m. on Jan. 27 for the one-bedroom cottage number 14 (named thus most likely for reasons of superstition).

The village purchased the 16-acre parcel after the fire for $3 million (a true fire sale). The minimum bid for cottage 14 was $35,000 in 2010 when the leases were last auctioned off.

The cottages are “nestled behind ocean dunes on a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Hook Pond just east of Main Beach,” according to the village website.

Though a writer for Forbes who stayed in one of the cottages in 1976 called it “a grey driftwood beach shack . . . [that] smelled ocean-y and mildewy all at once,” the minimum bids asked by the village are “bargain basement for Hamptons’ standards” according to Nanette Hansen of Sotheby's.

Rental rates in 2013 ranged from $34,067 to $108,150. “You can’t touch anything like it for that kind of money,” she said.

Fifteen months ago Ms. Hansen sold a cottage across Ocean Avenue, in the little-known Bayberry Cottages (where Andrew Farkas recently bought a 500-square-foot unit for $1 million) for $1,250,000, which her customer flipped in November for $1,700,000.

After leasing the cottages for three years in 2010, the village abandoned plans in 2013 to put them on the market again, allowing tenants to renew and pay rent increases. But, for reasons unknown, number 14 has come to market. As Gene Stilwell of Town and Country Real Estate said, “They’re tiny, tiny, but little jewels and gems, and they’re not making any more of them.”

Inspection of the cottage is by appointment only. Information can be obtained from the village administrator’s office, 86 Main Street, or by e-mailing jlester@easthamptonvillage.org.