Earlier this week, Southampton Village presented an ambitious plan for the property at 25 Job’s Lane. Most people recognize this as the site of the Parrish Art Museum, which occupied the building for a century before relocating to a new, state-of-the-art facility in Water Mill in November.
It left behind a beautiful and historic building that had served it well, but one that has fallen into a sad state of disrepair.
Roof leaks, questionable mid-century additions and cordoned off entrances are just a smattering of ways in which the building has been compromised and neglected over the years.
Which is sad for a structure of this grandeur.
Luckily, Mayor Mark Epley and the Village of Southampton has enlisted the services of Machado and Silvetti Associates to come up with a pretty bold vision to re-invent the property as a centerpiece for the next 100 years.
It’s called the Southampton Center and we like what we saw from the architects on Tuesday night. At its heart, the plan involves reclaiming the building’s three original structures — each with its own entrances so they may be used for individual venues or opened up for one large one.
It changes everything, and provides the flexibility to provide programming in which the sky is the limit.
It also changes the focus of the building. Instead of there being one entrance – as was the case on the Job’s Lane side of the structure in the Parrish’s tenure — the latest idea is to make the building accessible on all sides which allows for new pedestrian pathways to lead onto the property.
The addition of a glass walled café and covered outdoor arcade would provide new places for people to socialize and relax — whether or not an event is currently going on there. And we’re particularly excited about the idea of WPPB 88.3 FM relocating its broadcasting studio to the property. It’s a vibrant and creative way to bring a lively cultural asset to a part of the village that could use a little more human activity.
Of course, this is still a long way from reality — and nothing is set in stone — including how much it all will cost. But the focus now is to imagine the possibilities and the community has been invited to weigh in on the plan, including offering advice on how the building should ultimately be used. And that’s how it should be in any public offering of this scale.
In the meantime, the village is partnering with arts organizations to offer a summer slate of film, performing arts and visual arts at the site — just to show residents what is possible.
So we encourage everyone in Southampton Town to stay involved in the development of this property. Pay attention, pipe up and let your voice be heard. Because chances like this only come along once every 100 years.