A century-old Southampton Village inn could become a multimillion-dollar condominium complex under a recent development proposal.
Beechwood Latch LLC has submitted plans to convert the Village Latch Inn on Hill Street into 24 condominiums while restoring two architecturally historic cottages on site.
“We would restore them to their original grandeur,” said Steven Dubb, a partner at the Jericho-based Beechwood Organization. “We felt that would be an improvement over the current situation and improve the character of the area.”
The downtown inn has been operating since around 1901. It has hosted a number of celebrities, including former Vice President Al Gore and singer Carly Simon. Television journalist Matt Lauer got married there.
Martin and Marta White ran the inn for more than 40 years until Beechwood Organization partnered with Southampton developer George Benedict — the father-in-law of former Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley — to purchase it for $23 million in 2016. The group has been operating it as a pop-up inn since the summer.
Dubb said the inn had been “a nuisance” for the village because it was run for “transient” use with 76 rooms instead of the 67 approved by government agencies. Two architecturally historic buildings, the Terry cottage and the Village Latch, have fallen into disrepair.
Beechwood plans to knock down the nonhistoric buildings and erect new structures, complete with a garage and units of between 1,900 and 3,400 square feet. There also will be a clubhouse, pool, a low-nitrogen septic system and more than 70 parking spaces.
Developers said they are aiming for construction to begin by the end of 2018.
Some Southampton residents have expressed concerns about the project’s proposed density, which has more units than is permitted under the area’s underlying residential zoning. Because the inn was built before zoning laws, it has a permitted nonconforming use as an inn, according to the developers.
Evelyn Konrad, an attorney and village resident, said she wants the zoning board to be “mindful of this project’s long-term impact on our village,” including noise, traffic, the environment and residents’ quality of life.
“The heart and soul of our village is now in your hands,” she wrote in a recent letter to the board.
Dubb said the project’s proposed density of 4.6 units per acre is less than that of other village developments, including The Irving and Coopers Farm. He also pointed to a traffic study that found traffic would decrease during peak weekend hours but increase slightly during the week.
The village planning board already has approved a findings statement determining the project minimizes or avoids environmental impacts. If the zoning board grants approval for the developers’ requested variances, the project would go before site plan review.
Dubb said his team has been meeting with community groups, such as the Southampton Association, and has redrafted some plans based on those conversations since the first zoning hearing in September. Changes included increasing spacing between the buildings and eliminating patios and a motorcourt and garage buildings.
“We’re trying to come up with something that works,” Dubb said.
The developers said they are seeking zoning board approval for:
- Change use from motel/inn to multifamily condominium
- Lot coverage variance
- Minimum lot area per dwelling unit variance
- Building setback variance