By Kathryn G. Menu
The former United Methodist Church on Madison Street in Sag Harbor is in a solid contract to be sold to Elizabeth Dow, an artist and businesswoman in Amagansett, for just over $2 million according to several sources close to the deal.
On Monday, Dennis Suskind – a former Southampton Town Councilman and Goldman Sachs executive, who purchased the historic church in 2008 for a reported $2.9 million – declined to comment on the sale, deferring any comments to Dow.
Dow did not return calls for comment. Neither did Scott Strough, of Strough Real Estate, Suskind’s exclusive real estate brokerage firm.
While Suskind maintained upon his original purchase of the property that he intended to make the over 170-year-old structure his family residence, after briefly owning the property he placed it back on the market for a reported $3.5 million.
Sag Harbor resident and attorney Linda Mintz expressed interest in converting the property into a 15-unit bed and breakfast, but was deterred by village officials who questioned the number of units Mintz hopes to use on the property as suitable for the residentially zoned location.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, even celebrated musician Billy Joel toured the building in hopes of creating a studio space, however, it has remained dormant and for sale since Suskind purchased the property, until now.
While Dow’s plans for the building remain unclear, the artist and businesswoman is the director and Amagansett Applied Arts and the owner of Mixed Media Art Supply, located in Amagansett Square. She is also the founder of Elizabeth Dow Mixed Media, a textiles and wall coverings company.
That company, which was started some 20 years ago out of Dow’s New York City apartment, has blossomed into a firm that creates couture and accessible hand painted textiles and wall coverings, as well as internship opportunities lending an educational front to the company’s roster.
Since 1992, Dow has provided internship opportunities through her company to students and recent college graduates interested in art and design with approximately 20 to 30 students selected each year. The program has been rated as being one of the top 100 American internships by The Princeton Review.
In turn, under Dow’s leadership, Amagansett Applied Arts hosts a variety of comprehensive art classes for the young and old, including writing.
The former United Methodist Church, which the congregation sold due to mounting costs of maintaining the building, is zoned residential, meaning any commercial aspect included in Dow’s plans would require a change of zoning by Sag Harbor Village officials, although as of press time plans had yet to be formally presented to the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees.