Rechler Equity Partners broke ground Tuesday on a luxury townhome development along the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays that will feature units starting at $1.5 million.
The Plainview-based developer also held a ceremonial groundbreaking for its redevelopment of the historic Canoe Place Inn, along the west side of the canal. The two projects, which sit on either side of the canal and will have a park between them, are expected to cost about $110 million in total.
The 37-unit townhome project, called the Hampton Boathouses, will consist of several buildings along the east side of the canal. Units will feature private patios and balconies, and residents will have access to a dock with 20 boat slips, a pool, massage room, clubroom, kitchen and gym.
Construction is expected to be complete in the spring of 2020, with the inn's restoration expected to be complete at a similar time, the developer said.
The two projects have been in the works for more than 12 years.
In 2005, Rechler Equity purchased the inn, with plans to demolish it and transform it into a 70-unit private residence club. The following year an application for that project was submitted and was met with substantial community pushback.
"Almost immediately we started hearing major concerns about saving the Canoe Place Inn," said Gregg Rechler, co-managing partner of Rechler Equity. The developer and co-managing partner Mitchell Rechler arranged meetings with residents and municipal leaders. "We pulled together everyone who was our opposition for the project."
The result was a plan to restore the inn, make improvements to water treatment in the area, and contribute to the beautification of a neighboring park, he said.
"Between government, community and us, it made a lot of sense," Gregg Rechler said.
Members of Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce lauded the projects as a net gain for the region.
"It's going to make our community competitive with other communities on the East End," said Lars Clemensen, vice president of the chamber and superintendent of the Hampton Bays Public School District. In addition to the increased tax revenue, Clemensen said, activities at the inn will have a "spillover" effect on the neighboring businesses. "There's this big domino effect that these two projects are going to create for Hampton Bays. It's a long time coming."
The inn, on the west side of the canal, was once a destination for figures such as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and actress and comedian Lucille Ball. The original structure burned down in 1921 and was rebuilt the next year. It housed nightclubs over the decades but has stood vacant in recent years. .
Rechler is working to restore it as an event destination, with a catering venue that can accommodate 350, 20 hotel rooms and five guest cottages on the property. A majority of the inn will remain intact.