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Cottage auction brings in $820,000 for East Hampton

A summer lease auction for beachfront cottages owned by East Hampton Village brought in an extra $300,000 in summer 2010 rental income, a village official said Friday.

The 13 Sea Spray Cottages have been privately rented for years and were mostly renewed by the same tenants.

But in a move to raise more money from the rentals, the village decided to open up the pool of potential tenants by holding a public auction Saturday.

“The bids came in much higher than what we received last summer,” Larry Cantwell, the village administrator, said.

“We’d budgeted getting $515,000, based on prior year leases plus a 5 percent increase,” but now the village will get more than $820,000, he said.

The leases run from mid-May to late September, with a two-year renewal option. Sublets — even to family — are banned.

A minimum bid for a four-month lease of a one-bedroom cottage was $30,000; for a two-bedroom, $38,000; and for a three-bedroom $55,000.

Two of the previous years’ tenants were successful bidders for a lease, Cantwell said. Four others participated but were outbid.

The Sea Spray Cottages are “nestled behind ocean dunes on a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Hook Pond” near Main Beach, the village said in an online auction notice.

The Ocean Avenue buildings are vestiges of the Sea Spray Inn, a long-ago shuttered hotel.

The auction took place Saturday at the village’s public meeting room in the emergency services building. About two dozen people showed up to bid, and an equal number just to watch, Cantwell said.

The current year’s village budget is running a surplus, and the village was able to lower property taxes, too, Cantwell said. Even so, the extra income will make it easier for the village to provide services at a lower cost to residents, he said.

“It will help us stay in good financial shape,” Cantwell said. “Any additional revenue in this economy goes a long way toward keeping the budget in good financial shape.”

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