A 19th-century commercial building near the Southampton Long Island Rail Road station is as Long Island as they come. The circa-1884 brick structure has an extensive history as a potato and grain barn, and once served as an office for musician Billy Joel.
After being listed in 2016 for $2.999 million, the 8,000-square-foot building recently sold for $1.8 million.
Seller Joseph McLoughlin, who had owned the building for more than 45 years, said Joel rented offices for his Maritime Music publishing company for about five years, and used its original freight elevator, which once held sacks of potatoes, to move his piano.
When the building was used for farming, truckloads of potatoes would be taken inside and dumped down chutes into the basement, where they would be sorted, bagged and then shipped out to the rest of the country, McLoughlin said.
McLoughlin bought the building in 1973. At the time, he was an elementary school teacher in Hauppauge, and he and his brother had just bought a house in Southampton. While fixing up the house, they realized there was no place nearby to purchase electrical supplies. So, McLoughlin opened Joseph McLoughlin Electrical Supply, running it for more than two decades before closing the business and renting out the space as offices.
Along with the antique freight elevator, the building still features an original scale and conveyor belt motor, along with thick wood and concrete floors. Dramatic brick archways fill the lower level. A railroad spur that was used to transport the potatoes and grain still sits beside it.
“I tried not to change everything, historically speaking,” McLoughlin said.
The building will remain in the hands of a local business owner. Stuart Andrews, who owns Shinnecock Pools, a pool service and maintenance company, plans to move the company from a rented space in Southampton Village to the building, using it to house a showroom, offices and a warehouse. Andrews will share the space with its current tenant, Hamilton Hoge Construction Management.
Andrews said the building was the perfect location for his 30-year-old business.
"The architectural details in that building are just phenomenal and it has a fascinating history,” Andrews said.
While it took two years to close the deal, Andrews said it was worth the wait. And despite the economic uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic, Andrews is confident that a building that has weathered nearly two centuries will serve him well.
“That building is just as solid as a rock and has been so stable,” Andrews said.
Brenda Giufurta of Douglas Elliman Real Estate listed the building for McLoughlin, with Joseph Savio representing Andrews.