The Thatched Cottage in Centerport will get a new look and possibly a new name after the shuttered catering and event venue was sold to Hauppauge-based real estate firm The Crest Group for $2.8 million.
“We want to bring it back to its original glory,” Crest Group founder Enrico Scarda said of the company’s purchase from Bethpage Federal Credit union in September.
He expects renovations to cost “multiple millions of dollars,” work that could begin in the next four to five months. Scarda said it will be at least 12-18 months before the cottage reopens.
Scarda said the cottage will look and feel different under the new ownership. Renovations will include the addition of plants and other natural touches for a “rustic elegance” that Scarda said will be more consistent with the cottage’s exterior aesthetic.
To that end, Scarda said he wants to add indoor atriums, allowing guests to feel connected to Centerport’s natural, outdoor beauty even in Long Island’s coldest months.
Crest Group officials are also weighing a name change, although a final decision hasn’t been made.
The property had been on the market since February, said Mark Walsh of Huntington Station-based Select Real Equity Advisors.
“It’s been an iconic location for over 50 years,” said Walsh, who represented the credit union in the sale. “It is such a unique property.”
The once-popular wedding and event venue has been covered in brown tarps and surrounded by a chain-link fence since at least Nov. 20, 2014, when Huntington officials condemned the 21,000-square-foot property.
The town condemned the cottage four days before Hicksville-based Suzan Tina Properties, the original high bidder at a 2014 auction, was to close for $4.65 million.
Suzan Tina’s executive director, Yama Raj, has said the town’s condemnation was significant in the company’s decision to walk away from the purchase, forfeiting a $651,000 deposit.
Huntington officials have said that the condemnation was based on documents Ralph Colamussi, who owned the cottage for 26 years, provided in 2014, including engineering reports finding the lobby posed a risk of “injury and possible loss of life.”
Officials in the town attorney’s office said Tuesday the condemnation was lifted April 19, but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing litigation.
Scarda said the company is working with the town to resolve any and all concerns about the property.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union and the Thatched Cottage’s bankruptcy trustee, R. Kenneth Barnard, each brought suits against the town over the timing of the condemnation.
Both suits say the town’s action scuttled the Suzan Tina sale, costing the estate and its many debtors — including the credit union — a higher return on the sale.
Ultimately, The Crest Group paid $1.85 million less than what Raj’s company had offered when the real estate firm bought the cottage from the credit union in September.
BY THE NUMBERS
$4.65 million: How much the high bidder was willing to pay for the cottage in 2014, before it was condemned.
$2.8 million: How much The Crest Group of Hauppauge paid for the property, which is expected to have costly renovations.
8: Number of months the cottage was on the market before selling in late September.