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Developers Confirm 1-800-LAWYER Building in Sag Harbor Will be Folded into Condominium Project

Posted on 02 July 2013


2 West Water Street, known as the 1-800-LAWYER building (far right), will be incorporated into a new design for luxury condominiums on Ferry Road, according to developer Emil Talel. 

By Kathryn G. Menu

The luxury condominium project at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road in Sag Harbor has been revived with plans expected to be filed with the Village of Sag Harbor later this month.

With a few adjustments, that is.

Developer Emil Talel — who partnered with Michael Maidan on the luxury condominium project over seven years ago — confirmed this week the developers are in contract to purchase 2 West Water Street.

The property, owned by Bruce Davis, the man behind “1-800-LAWYER,” has been on the market since 2011 and sits adjacent to the Ferry Road parcels Talel and Maidan purchased over seven years ago with the intention of transforming them into waterfront luxury condominiums.

The 10,000 square-foot building, which holds 10 bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, four half baths, two chef’s kitchens, two dining rooms, a gym and office was most recently listed for sale at $6 million, according to Douglas Elliman Real Estate, which lists the property as “sold and closed” on its website.

While Talel was mum on what price developers purchased the property for, he did confirm the intention is to incorporate it into the condominium property on Ferry Road.

In an interview on Friday, Talel said he preferred for the scope of the plan to remain under wraps until plans are formally submitted to the village, although he did allow that East Hampton architect Frank Greenwald has been brought in to work on the project.

While condominium projects at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory and 21 West Water Street (a project engineered by Talel and Maidan currently moving forward after years of stasis and is the subject of an ongoing Chapter 11 filing by the developers in United States Eastern District Bankruptcy Court) were at least initially embraced, largely, by members of the community, the Ferry Road project was not so fortunate.

Whether it was condominium fatigue, the aesthetic or the sheer scale of the proposed 18-unit, three-story building, which sits next to 7-Eleven and overlooks the Lance Corporal Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge, the project failed to find public support.

The parcel was purchased by Maidan and Talel in 2005, and a year later the developers, under the limited liability company East End Ventures, began meeting with village boards about condominiums at the site, although the number of units and design of the architecture changed several times as project sponsors tried to gain both public support and board approval.

In 2009, final plans for a three-story, 18-unit condo project featuring 18-accessory boat slips was before the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board when the village’s zoning code changed, drastically reducing the number of allowed condominium units on the property and also calling for affordable housing accommodations.

A $30 million civil action lawsuit and an Article 78 seeking to reverse requiring the project to meet the standards of the 2009 code was filed against the Village of Sag Harbor by the developers that year. Both were subsequently dismissed.

According to Talel, it is his hope project sponsors will be able to bring a development to the table residents  and the village boards will support.

“We want to build a park that we will then donate to the village,” said Talel.

That park, which would become public in nature, he said, would be placed where a asphalt parking lot now sits, and would connect to the small village beach next to the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge.

In order to gain approval for any condominium project on the site, Maidan and Talel would need approval from the planning board, the historic preservation and architectural review board, the harbor committee, and according to Talel, likely the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).


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2 Responses to “Developers Confirm 1-800-LAWYER Building in Sag Harbor Will be Folded into Condominium Project”

  1. NACLH2O says:

    While more condos is sure to be controversial, I hope any plan that is approved will include a public waterfront right-of-way through these properties. This would be a big part of the much-dreamed-about public promenade linking the whole Sag Harbor waterfront including the Long Wharf.

  2. sag harbor 61 says:

    Here we go again! I would sincerely hope the various Village Boards and the Mayor have learned an important lesson when dealing with a sleazy real estate developers like East End Ventures who obviously can not and should not be trusted. The lesson learned is whatever East End Ventures might promise the Village, the Mayor, or the Village Trustees should be completely disregard. Their less than honorable previous actions with various Village Boards speaks volumes about their underhanded shady dealings. They made an awful mess of the 21 Water Street Condo project and the Village has very right to tell them to get lost and not come back again. No more business dealings with a bunch jerks – period.

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