Some Businesses Bothered by Bulova

Posted on 16 December 2011

Washington St.

The renovation and restoration of the former Bulova Watchcase Factory in the heart Sag Harbor is likely the largest construction project in village history. For planning board chairman, Neil Slevin, it was expected the village would have to work with residents, businesses and the developers, Cape Advisors, to wrangle some of the headaches inherently caused by such large scale construction.

However, not even Slevin anticipated those headaches would be felt so early in the building project’s timeline.

On Tuesday night, at the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting, a small group of residents and business owners approached the board with concerns over the impact the Bulova project was having on their businesses and lives.

The Bulova Watchcase Factory restoration and redevelopment is for a 65-unit luxury apartment building in the historic factory building and seven townhouses, which will contain 16 of the units. A recreation center, with indoor pool, spa and an underground parking facility is also planned for the project.

Cape Advisors earned village approval for the project over three years ago, but just recently began clearing the site and erecting a construction fence in anticipation of groundbreaking after earning a new partner in Deutsche Bank this fall.

For Dolores Fenn, a Main Street resident whose house backs onto Church Street, the construction fence that stretches out on the street has made it difficult for her to get her car out of her garage.

On Tuesday night, Fenn said she was moving and was worried a moving van will not be able to access her home.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said that the fence was there for residents’ safety, but Fenn said she felt neighboring property owners should have been personally informed about some the changes taking place during construction.

“It has inconvenienced a lot of people,” she said.

Gilbride agreed all neighbors should have been personally contacted, and noted that the village has created a board led by Slevin to work with Cape Advisors on any issues that come up during construction.

“If someone got missed and we are not aware, call the village clerk tomorrow morning and we will get your number to Neil and if you have a complaint we will handle it,” said Gilbride.

Sharone Einhorn, the co-owner of Ruby Beets antiques and home furnishing store on Washington Street, said she was concerned about the closure of parking on Church Street and four parking stalls on Washington Street.

“We will not be able to receive deliveries and clients will not be able to put things in the cars if they cannot park nearby,” said Einhorn.

She asked the board consider opening Church Street back up for parking in the summer.

“Did you consider the small businesses in Sag Harbor and how this would impact them,” asked Einhorn.

She added the parking problem is compounded by the fact that the municipal lot on Washington and Division streets has become a seven-day-a-week lot, which has translated to people leaving their cars there for days on end.

On Wednesday morning, Einhorn said she would like to see that lot converted into two-hour parking, so that clients have somewhere to park nearby.

Einhorn also questioned how she, and the two other furniture stores on Washington Street, would be able to accept deliveries. Currently, when there is not parking available on Washington Street, as is often the case, trucks double park on Church Street to make their deliveries. Now, said Einhorn, getting deliveries will be difficult at best.

Deputy Mayor Tim Culver acknowledged the village could work to solve some of these issues, but said the village has been diligent in exploring all issues related to construction at Bulova.

“I think we did think about local businesses,” he said. “And the Chamber of Commerce was an advocate for this project and people in general thought it would be a good thing for business in Sag Harbor.”

Nada Barry, owner of the Wharf Shop and longtime member of the Chamber of Commerce, said that with Stella Maris Regional School now closed there is more parking near Division Street. Additional parking, some 80 spaces, added Barry, has also been procured at the former National Grid gas ball property.

On Wednesday, project manager David Kronman said that all of the construction workers at Bulova are currently parking on-site and not in public parking spaces around Sag Harbor.

However, when it is needed, Kronman said his firm has secured parking spaces at St. Andrews Church, Reid Brothers on the Sag Harbor/Bridgehampton Turnpike and at Baron’s Cove.

Kronman, who by late Wednesday morning had already set up meetings with both Einhorn and Fenn, said that working with neighbors was a top priority. His firm had already worked with Sage Street Antiques owner Eliza Warner, he said, to ensure her business had parking spaces on Sage Street when it is open on the weekends.

“There is absolutely a willingness on our part to sit down and solve any problems that arise and make this as painless as possible on everyone,” said Kronman Wednesday morning. “We want to work with all of our neighbors and be creative in coming up with solutions to issues as they arise.”

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6 Responses to “Some Businesses Bothered by Bulova”

  1. Ruledbyfools says:

    As someone who has lived in Sag Harbor for some time it still surprises me how resistant to any change some people here are and how much free time they seem to have to pursue it. This project should be supported 200% and any small inconveniences felt now will pay dividends once the project is completed. I’m tired of hearing about these tiny little things people somehow find time to complain about. This building has been an open pus boil in the life of Sag Harbor for a long time and I’m embarrassed by the knuckleheads who have fought against its rehabilitation and seem to be still fighting it. When a brick falls and hits them on the head they would be the first to bring a lawsuit and ask why nothing was done to protect them. They are too limited in their capacity to see the benefits the future holds and after the smarter people eventually get it done they are the first to claim credit or take advantage of the new facilities. Please accept them for what they are and don’t give them any credibility by writing about their daily aches & pains.

  2. P. M. Brant says:

    Ruledbyfools said:
    “They are too limited in their capacity to see the benefits the future holds and after the smarter people eventually…..”

    Yea, sounds like what all the big time smart developers think of the local Sag Harbor village residents and board of trustees doesn’t it? They must think Sag Harbor is Mayberry RFD circa 1960. Wave a little money under their noses and get what they want.

    My word of advice? Don’t be fooled.

  3. Ruledbyfools says:

    Flash ahead Christmas Future: Save Sag Harbor meeting: Thank God we stopped the development of that watch case building, oh by the way, PM perhaps you would risk being one of the volunteers who would be willing to help search for the missing children after the building collapsed. I’ll bet no. Perhaps you are one of the small town small minds that are content with this eye-soar. Yes they are smater than you,

  4. Hey Ruledbyfools: A typical response from someone who has no roots in the community or it’s heritage. Yeah, yeah, we know. Local yokels resistant to change. So you have lived in the community for some time? What’s your definition of “Some Time”? Ten years? Fifteen? Twenty?

    A lot of people who live in Sag Harbor year round like to say I’m a local. Let me tell you something! Unless you can go to a Sag Harbor cemetery and visit the grave of at least one grandparent, you are not a local. You are a transplant at best, or a wannabe at worst.

    So, you think that certain factions who are carping about the inconvenience of the Bulova renovation are just resistant to change? Here’s a news flash. Most of those complaining aren’t native sons of Sag Harbor either. The “Real” locals have grown up and lived with that building all their lives. We know it’s an eye-sore, not eye-soar. Don’t you have spell check on your Macintosh, or are you just too lazy to proof read? For someone so enlightened and progressive you don’t seem “smater” [sic] then those you denigrate! Instead, all you have to offer are worst case scenarios of people digging bodies of small children from collapsed ruble. Now you can spend the next twenty minutes re-reading my post to check for punctuation or spelling errors.You know you’re going to do it! Perhaps I left an error here on purpose to see if you are paying attention?

    That “opened pus boil” you refer to has a lot of memories for true Sag Harborites. So, you think we should support the project 200%, and we’re “knuckleheads” if we don’t? You think the project will pay dividends when completed? Dividends to whom?

    The article clearly states that the project will create 65 “luxury” apartments and 7 townhouses, complete with pools, spas, and associated amenities. Exactly who is that going to benefit? Oh yes, the tax revenue will be huge for the town coffer. They will probably need all that extra revenue going forward, and here’s why.

    For too long now, Sag Harbor has been the beneficiary of native sons who are blue collar workers. The Sag Harbor Fire Department is staffed with generations of “real locals” who have been protecting this community longer than any other fire department in New York State. Go down to the Firehouse parking lot around 7 P.M on the first Monday of the month. You won’t see any BMW’s or Mercedes there. Our fire dept. is graying. The mean age is over forty, and it will get worse. Most of it’s members live outside the village limits, because they can’t afford to pay both village and town taxes. Many of them live in homes inherited from their families. The line and the old guard is dying out. Someday, it will end. It won’t happen in the immediate future, but eventually Sag Harbor will be forced to have paid firemen. They will demand parity with the police force, and there will have to be at least 40 men manning the equipment 24/7 in two or three day shifts. The chief of the fire dept. will expect the same $160,000 dollars a year in salary that the police chief is paid. There will be a union. Think teachers!

    Now, do you have any idea what that will do to the tax burden of this community? Of course, by then, the town will consist mostly of millionaires! It won’t matter much to them, but what about this thought?

    Suppose Bulova was turned into an affordable housing project for blue collar workers, with preference to firemen, police officers, village employees? Oh! the humanity! Not enough profit to be made there! That would make too much sense wouldn’t it? Maybe the local people you hold in such obvious disregard would be 200% behind that idea. Ya Think?

    Eventually, the gentry are going to kill the goose who laid the golden egg. They may be prepared and capable of absorbing the financial burden to their tax bill, but it won’t be pretty.

    By the way, if you feel qualified to join the Sag Harbor Fire Dept., feel free to stop in the firehouse and pick up an application. That is, if you can get a “local” to sponsor you.

  5. Elementary School Parent #1 says:

    The library AND the watchcase factory at the SAME time?! This Summer will be interesting to say the least.

  6. GC says:

    Jim

    Anyone who lives and works here year-round, owns their property and pays taxes is a local. I don’t buy the whole “if you can’t visit the cemetery” routine. Your ancestors were also newcomers to this place at one time (ask the indians).

    I understand the dismay you may feel at the changing character of this village and surrounds. I don’t like it much either, but I don’t think it’s immoral. Populations grow and change. Neighborhoods become more desirable and therefore more expensive. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s basic ecomomics. And I don’t think the solution is for govt to artificially keep rents down. My suggestion is to vote for candidates who will cut your taxes and spend less.


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