A new luxury development will add 30 homes adjacent to Baiting Hollow Golf Club in a project that’s notable for its size given the scarcity of open land and cost of building on Long Island.
Baiting Hollow Development Group, led by Marc Weissbach, is planning the community and expects to begin building in the next few weeks. The developer’s goal is for the 30-home community produce at least as much energy as it consumes, netting zero carbon emissions after construction is completed, said Weissbach, an architect who specializes in helping developers create energy-efficient exteriors for skyscrapers.
BHDG is breaking ground at a time when the number of homes for sale is near record lows, particularly in communities to the east of Baiting Hollow on the North Fork, where home prices have risen dramatically in recent years. At the same time, higher mortgage rates are making home buying more expensive. Weissbach said he believes sales at the development won’t be as affected as the broader Long Island market because of the lack of new, customizable homes on the market.
Prices at the development will start at about $1.75 million, he said.
The North Fork is “becoming an absolute market that people want to be in,” Weissbach said. “The product that we’re talking about is adjacent to a beautiful golf course and is very unique. While any developer would be concerned about all of these external market forces … if you want to be amongst two-and-a-half dozen homes that will be architecturally cohesive in a development, you don’t have many places you can go to.”
Buyers have flexibility
The farmhouse-style homes will range from three bedrooms but could include as many as six. Sites range from one-half acre to more than 1 acre, and buyers will be able to add extra rooms and pools in the backyard. Weissbach expects the homes to be about 2,500 to 3,500 square feet. Some could be double that size depending on buyers’ preferences. The development is adjacent to the private golf club’s clubhouse, with some homes overlooking its fairways. Memberships aren’t included in the home purchases.
Another developer had previously planned to build 30 homes on the site back in 2006 but ran into trouble during the 2008 housing crash and the site ended up in foreclosure. Baiting Hollow Development Group bought the land for $3.5 million last year from Suffolk County in a foreclosure sale overseen by the county referee, according to property records.
“This was an incredibly well thought out development that hit at the absolute wrong time in an economy and sat empty, but it’s a beautiful base in a great location and it doesn’t exist in other places on Long Island,” Weissbach said.
It is rare to see a project of this size on Long Island, especially one that doesn’t require another type of site to be redeveloped, said Mitchell Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute in Islandia.
“On Long Island at the moment, that is a gigantic project because you just don’t find the land available to build,” Pally said. "Because we build so few new single-family homes on the Island, every one is a prize for people.”
Wind and solar energy
Sustainability is a major focus of the development. All homes will be fully electrified to reduce use of fossil fuels and will include photovoltaic solar panels. Retention ponds will collect rain water for irrigation, there will be a wind energy generation system and heat pumps will be used for heating and air conditioning. Buyers can decide whether to include all of those features, but the developer plans to offset potential emissions created by homes that are using gas stoves or propane barbecue grills, for example.
“We hope to impress upon folks that want to be part of this community that it’s not difficult to work toward net-zero energy,” Weissbach said. “Everyone needs to do their part, but ultimately if there’s a reason why folks that want to be in this community are against it, there’ll be other options.”
Helping buyers find homes with green features and marketing those features is becoming more common in the real estate industry. Half of real estate agents and brokers surveyed said they had helped buy or sell a property with green features in the past year, according to a report published in April by the National Association of Realtors. Last year, only 32% of respondents said they had been involved in such a deal, said Brandi Snowden, NAR’s director of member and consumer survey research.
“I think buyers want new construction and people do want sustainability and energy efficiency,” Weissbach said. “We expect to see high demand, but we won’t know until we launch the project.”
He said lots will be listed for sale in about a month and the first homes are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023. JCL Contracting in Southold, led by Jason Leonard, will serve as the general contractor on the project. Others working on the project include architect Robert Stromski of Stromski Architecture in Riverhead and planners and surveyors Howard Young and Thomas Wolpert of Young & Young in Riverhead.