Living in an 87-year-old former grand hotel resort can be quite a thrill.
"It's just wonderful," says Cindy Vando, who has used her condo at the four-story Montauk Manor as a vacation retreat.
Built in 1927 by Carl Fisher, one of the developers of Miami Beach, Montauk Manor was created to be "the most fabulous resort ever imagined in the Western world," the literature of the time boasted. Sitting high on a hill, it overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Pond, Lake Montauk and Gardiners Island Bay.
Remnants of the resort's splendor and original details are everywhere, says Vando. Of particular note is the lobby, which she describes as "just magnificent-looking," from its floor tiles to its light fixtures to its welcoming, roaring fireplace in cooler weather.
All of the 140 units in the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, are different: Some have cathedral ceilings and others are lofts; there are both private and shared patios. There are several units for sale with prices ranging from $150,000 for a studio to $449,000 for a three-bedroom apartment. Vacant condos are rented out as hotel rooms.
Vando, whose main residence is in Oyster Bay, says she is selling her one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo because she simply can't get there often enough. "It breaks my heart," says Vando, whose unit, listed for $174,000, went into contract in 10 weeks.
While most condominium developments on Long Island were originally constructed as individually owned apartments or houses, several actually began life as something else entirely: a school, a hotel, a private home, a country club, a grand estate, a factory, even a ski slope.
For the most part, condos with interesting histories are highly coveted, says Seth Benjamin Levy, an agent with Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates. "Most condo developments with nostalgia and history will garner more money and faster sales because of that history," he says.
Stepping back into the glitz and glamour of the Gatsby era, Glen Cove's Francis L. Hine waterfront development, an early 1900s Georgian-style mansion and former home of Hine, a banker, was turned into the 16-unit Long Meadow Homeowners Association community in the '80s.
Unlike condominiums, where owners usually have no independent ownership beyond the interiors of their units, HOA units partly own the common elements of the communities, says David Eldridge, president-elect of the Long Island chapter of Community Associations Institute, an organization serving the educational, business and networking needs of the community association industry in Nassau and Suffolk.
Residing in the former Hine estate gives you a sense of living in a more gilded age, says Lisa Cerreta of Laffey Fine Homes, who is selling one of the six apartments in the mansion. The development also has 10 28-year-old redbrick town houses with white clapboard trim.
When you open the balcony doors, you could imagine a great party out on the lawn, women in their long dresses and Rolls-Royces coming down the entrance, bringing people to the country from New York City, says Cerreta.
There are two units currently for sale -- one for $829,000 and the other for $899,000.
The gilded life of the leisure class is not hard to picture at Summit at High Point, situated on the grounds of the former Renaissance Country Club in Roslyn Heights, which once featured a golf course, carriage house and horse paddocks. Built in five stages, from 1980 to 1996, the 162-unit community still exudes a sense of well-heeled grace, especially with its former clubhouse, the eight-unit "Manor House," still extant.
"It's nice because it's not a level grade," says Levy, who has sold units in the development. "This is on the hill. You're overlooking parts of Roslyn, parts of Mineola -- very scenic. When you pull through the gates, you're pulling into another world. It's really incredible."
There are three units currently for sale -- with prices from $945,000 to $988,000.
Francesca Bonavita, who lives in the 34-unit Lindbergh Park condo development in Huntington, saw the place when it was being built in 2001 and was smitten with its spectacular panoramic views of rolling hills, winding lanes and lush landscaping, remnants from its former incarnation as a 1960s-1970s ski resort known as the
Hi-Point Ski Club. "We have beautiful trees," she says. "We have beautiful evergreens."
There are currently two three-bedroom units on the market: for $549,000 and $629,000.
For people looking to downsize from a single-family home without compromising the space and amenities a house can offer, The Regency in Lawrence could fit the bill.
With half of its 138 units sold since its July opening, The Regency is the "only new construction luxury condominium on Long Island," says Danielle Kirk, sales director.
It was built on the four-acre lot of a former school in Lawrence.
Prices range from $475,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $1.255 million for a three-bedroom unit.
Brand new to the market is perhaps the most extreme example of a condo complex with a past -- Watchcase Sag Harbor, a deluxe resort-style loft complex just one block from historic Main Street that will comprise nine town houses and eight bungalows inspired by the sea captains' houses dotting the village. It is anchored by the stately former Joseph H. Fahys & Co. watchcase factory, which later became (and is better known as) the Bulova watchcase factory.
The 1881 factory building is being transformed into a deluxe penthouse and 47 factory loft condominiums while keeping many touches of the original design, including oversized arch windows, exposed brick walls and high ceilings with exposed yellow pine beams.
Having rented in the Hamptons for many years, Sandra Foschi, who is in her early 40s, says she decided she didn't want to buy a vacation home that would require perpetual upkeep. Now she is under contract for a factory loft at Watchcase, which she says she hopes to occupy by October.
The condo, Foschi says, appeals to her because in many ways it resembles her prewar Manhattan apartment, with its classic original fixtures, but enhanced by 21st century conveniences, such as brand-new appliances, heating and windows.
"I get to walk to town, walk to the marina where I can have a boat, and don't even need to drive," she says. "I have full amenities of the gym, entertainment room, heated pool. I have my own garden."
There are several units available, with prices ranging from $1.13 million for a one-bedroom unit to $7.25 million for a three-bedroom penthouse.
If you're looking for history of a very different sort, Foxgate at Islip could be an interesting and affordable choice, with its 184 condos priced between $255,000 and $280,000.
Constructed on the grounds of the old Central Islip Psychiatric Hospital -- once the second-largest psychiatric hospital in the country -- this development, which will also have rentals, will be completed in two to three years. Sixteen units are slated to be available in September.
So vast was the hospital complex, which operated from 1889 to 1996, that it had its own fire department, farm, train depot and nursing school, and its grounds stretched beneath what is now the Cohalan Court complex, Citibank Park, a campus of New York Institute of Technology and the Town Center shopping center, in addition to the Foxgate development.
CONDOS FOR SALE
Long Meadow in Glen Cove
ITS PAST. Gold Coast mansion
ASKING PRICE. $899,000
ANNUAL CHARGES. $18,358 for taxes and $4,800 for common charges
WHAT YOU GET. This 3,871-square-foot, two-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom apartment features a grand foyer and den on the first floor, an elevator and two-car garage, as well as water views.
LISTING AGENT. Lisa Cerreta, Laffey Fine Homes, 516-200-5700
Summit at High Point in Roslyn Heights
ITS PAST. On the grounds of the former Renaissance Country Club
ASKING PRICE. $945,000
ANNUAL CHARGES $19,375 for taxes and $7,200 for common charges
WHAT YOU GET. A 3,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3½-bath end unit with a greenhouse-windowed eat-in kitchen, two-story skylighted dining area and living room, stone fireplace and large finished basement
LISTING AGENT. Jack Rossinsky, Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates, 516-364-4663.
Lindbergh Park, Huntington
ITS PAST. Ski lodge property
ASKING PRICE. $549,000
ANNUAL CHARGES. $14,200 for taxes and $3,300 for common charges
WHAT YOU GET. Set in the terraced landscape of a former ski slope, this 3,049-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3½-bath unit features a mahogany upper deck and a tiled lower patio, vaulted ceilings in the master suite and a finished basement.
LISTING AGENT. Oksana Foster, Signature Premier Properties, 631-754-3600
ITS PAST. 1927 vacation retreat
ASKING PRICE. $449,000
ANNUAL CHARGES. $2,437 for taxes and $40,818 for common charges
WHAT YOU GET. This 1,083- square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom corner unit comes with a loft bed and private terrace and offers water, sunset and horizon views overlooking Fort Pond Bay.
LISTING AGENT. John D'Agostino, Martha Greene Real Estate, 631-668-2811
WHERE. The Regency in Lawrence
ITS PAST. Former school site
ASKING PRICE. $1.255 million
ANNUAL CHARGES. $20,808 for taxes and maintenance
WHAT YOU GET. This is a three-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom, 2,040-square-foot unit. Amenities include 24- hour doorman/concierge/valet services, wine cellar, fitness center, all-season pool, banquet hall, private courtyard and storage facility.
LISTING AGENT. Roberta Weinberg, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 516-627-2800
Watchcase Sag Harbor in Sag Harbor
ITS PAST. Former Bulova factory
ASKING PRICE. $3.25 million
ANNUAL CHARGES $4,632 for taxes and $22,116 for common charges
WHAT YOU GET. Occupying the entire second floor of the southwest Church Street wing of the complex, the 1,812-square-foot loft has two bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms with three private terraces.
LISTING AGENT. Jack Pearson, The Corcoran Group, 516-457-7111 and Cee Scott Brown, The Corcoran Group, 516-383-2011
WHERE. Foxgate at Islip in Central Islip
ITS PAST. Site of a former psychiatric center
ASKING PRICE. $275,000
ANNUAL CHARGES. $7,788 for taxes and $3,110 for common charges
WHAT YOU GET. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,055-square-foot unit will be in a brand-new complex available to all age groups close to Citibank Park (home of the Long Island Ducks), golf, beaches, ballfields and major roadways.
LISTING AGENT. Bart Cafarella, Realty Connect USA, 516-714-4100