Two adjoining parcels on Jermain Avenue and Joels Lane in Sag Harbor – totaling over five village acres – have been listed for sale together for $3.5 million by members of the Schiavoni family, although exactly how the property can be developed remains a mystery.
The property, once the subject of a dispute between brothers Gabriel and Francis Schiavoni, was listed for sale by both parties last month with The Corcoran Group Senior Vice Presidents Cee Scott Brown and Jack Pearson.
The Jermain Avenue parcel, a 1.5-acre spread, and the 3.8-acre Joels Lane property, are the former home of Schiavoni Plumbing and Heating, and were once home to a division of Sag Harbor Industries, earlier serving as a watchcase factory and engraving studio.
According to Gabriel Schiavoni, the family purchased the lots in 1982 from Sag Harbor Industries, which was using the property to manufacture small electrical parts at the time and outgrew the location. Schiavoni Plumbing and Heating had also outgrown its home on Fordham Road, and moved to the Jermain Avenue site to run its plumbing and fuel business through 2005.
“It was adequate enough,” said Schiavoni of the property, adding that a plan to renovate the building to allow office space was scrapped after the village placed restrictions on allowing additional tenants in the building.
“The building is in sad shape now,” lamented Gabriel’s wife Diane.
According to Brown, the Schiavoni families are prepared to produce a clean title with the sale, along with a Phase 1 Environmental Report and proof that four below ground oil tanks and one above ground tank have been removed from the property.
On Tuesday, Gabriel Schiavoni said water testing has already begun to ensure the property is free of contaminants and an environmental study is also in the works.
“I don’t anticipate any problem,” he said.
According to Brown, the property has already had three “very interested parties” view the building and a couple of offers, although no sale is pending at this time.
“First of all, the property itself is unique and it offers some interesting opportunities,” he said. “It could be a small version of the Bulova factory, but a different take – four fabulous lofts, for instance, or it could be a work and living space.”
The existing building, part of which will likely have to be rebuilt, according to Brown, boasts 10 to 15-foot ceiling loft spaces with large rectangular windows throughout.
Brown said the biggest issue surrounding the property is that it has been out of business for some time and the sellers and brokers cannot represent fully what will be approved by Sag Harbor Village at that location.
“It’s pre-existing, non-conforming commercial in a residential area,” said Brown. “I don’t know if the village will honor that. The sellers are leaving the due diligence to any interested parties to find out what could or could not be done there.”
Brown said the two single and separate lots, being sold together, could be merged using the total 14,500 square-feet for lot coverage calculations. He did note much of the Joels Lane property is wetlands, and said he was unsure how much of it was buildable on its own, adding “not a whole lot. A lot of it is impacted by the wetlands, I believe.”
“These are the questions no one knows right now,” said Brown. “Any offers will be contingent on what we can do here.”
“Personally, I would think the village would be open to anything if we were doing it to rehabilitate [the property] in a responsible way where it is no longer the eyesore it has become,” he added.
On Tuesday, former Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustee member Tiffany Scarlato, who helped draft revisions to the village’s zoning code last year, said the properties are “without a doubt completely viable as a residential use.” Because the properties have been vacant for so long, Scarlato is unsure whether the pre-existing, non-conforming commercial use would be upheld by the building inspector, the only person in the village who can make a determination of that kind.
According to the village code, once a property has been vacated for 12 consecutive months it is considered abandoned and can lose its pre-existing, non-conforming status.
On Wednesday morning, Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Timothy Platt declined to weigh in on whether or not the properties’ pre-existing, non-conforming commercial use would stand, stating that he will review the properties once a proposal has been filed with the village building department.
Brown said regardless of the issues, the site remains wholly unique in Sag Harbor and a special property that even he noticed when first moving to the village in 1996.
“And now I have the great pleasure of showing it and watching when people’s eyes light up imagining what could be done with this beautiful space.”