Tag Archive | "Cape Advisors"

Some Businesses Bothered by Bulova

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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.”

Sag Trustees Aim to Control Parking During Construction at Bulova & JJML

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When the Sag Harbor Planning Board approved the luxury condominium development at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory three years ago, they probably never suspected that project would coincide with the expansion of the John Jermain Memorial Library.

But that is exactly what has happened.

The expansion of the historic library was only a glimmer in most Sag Harbor Village resident’s eyes when Cape Advisors — the firm approved to construct 65 condos in the factory building — was seeking permission to move forward with their plans. Flash forward three years, following the project stalling under the weight of the housing crisis, and both projects will likely begin just months apart.

On October 25, Cape Advisors, which has partnered with Duetsche Bank on their project, paid the Village of Sag Harbor’s Building Department just over $200,000 in order to obtain their building permit. Since then, the former Watchcase Factory property has been alive with activity as the company gets ready to break ground on their development, which in addition to condos will also feature townhouses along Church Street, the construction of an underground parking garage and a recreational center.

Meanwhile, the library, which is already in its temporary West Water Street home, is just months away from being able to apply for its own building permit for expansion. Restoration of the masonry on the exterior of the 101-year-old library has already been given village approval.

In an attempt to mitigate the traffic concerns associated with both projects, at Tuesday night’s Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting, board members adopted temporary traffic and vehicle regulations that will remain in effect through December 31 of next year.

The Sag Harbor Planning Board in their approvals for both the Bulova condos and the library expansion has already adopted most of the regulations.

According to the resolution, parking will be prohibited on Washington and Church streets to Division Street.  Church Street will also be changed into a northbound-only street from Washington to Sage streets, and parking will no longer be allowed on Sage Street from Division to Church Street. Jefferson Street will be opened into a two way traffic street from Suffolk Street to the library while that road is closed directly adjacent to the library and parking and standing on Union Street next to the library is also prohibited under the resolution.

The village board also agreed to hire engineer Frederick S. Keith, at a rate of $120 per hour, to aid building inspector Timothy Platt in review of construction documents as the Bulova project moves forward.

According to Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride, the village will use the building department fee furnished by Cape Advisors to cover the cost of having Keith under contract.

“It’s the biggest project the village has ever seen and I think the village needs that,” he said.

Geese & Septic Systems Targeted by State

Feeding geese on Sag Harbor Village property may soon be illegal, although don’t blame the village board of trustees— the new local law was introduced under a federal mandate to address stormwater runoff issues nationwide.

On Tuesday night, the board introduced two new local laws — one prohibiting the feeding of geese within the incorporated Village of Sag Harbor. The other requires homeowners to show, via an inspection, that their septic systems are operational every five years.

According to village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr., both are the result of a federal mandate administered through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) that requires local laws in an effort to mitigate stormwater runoff.

According to Thiele, the septic legislation differs from legislation proposed by the village earlier this year that required regular inspections of septic systems. He said the law does not demand residents show their systems are being pumped regularly, but rather just requires an inspection indicating the systems are functioning properly.

“These laws just get the village into compliance with federal and state regulations,” said Thiele.

Next April, the Village of Sag Harbor will be eligible for $26,000 in Suffolk County Development Block Grants. These are restricted for the construction of improvements like handicap accessible ramps, bathrooms and crosswalks, according to village clerk Beth Kamper.

On Tuesday night, the village board heard from John Jermain Memorial Library Director Catherine Creedon who said that many of her patrons have requested additional handicap parking spaces near the library’s temporary West Water Street home, as well as a crosswalk closer to the library.

Mayor Gilbride asked Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley to explore that possibility, as well as upgrading the bathrooms at Havens Beach.

Sag Harbor Planning Board Takes A Closer Look at Baron’s Cove Bar

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BAR 1.2

Images courtesy of NY Architectural Renderings.

The new Baron’s Cove Inn, conceived as a family friendly destination resort, is allowed by village code to have a restaurant. However this week members of the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board said they would like to ensure a bar space within that restaurant does not have the ability to evolve into a nightlife destination similar to Rocco’s – the establishment on that same stretch of West Water Street where throbbing disco music plagued residents for years.

The owners of Baron’s Cove Inn, KBR Associates, and Cape Advisors, the firm that will manage the resort once renovations are completed, have already gained permission to renovate the exterior of the existing motel. Now, the firms are before the village planning board to remove an existing office and construct a new lobby and restaurant space overlooking Sag Harbor’s waterfront.

The restaurant, which will have a total of 87 seats, including 18 that will be moved outdoors in the summer season, is allowed as an accessory use to the motel under village law. Nightclubs and taverns are prohibited under the same law.

The companies have proposed the restaurant on the second story of the new building, with the restaurant’s bar and motel lobby on the first floor.

On Tuesday, October 25 during a Sag Harbor Village Planning Board meeting, board member Greg Ferraris noted there is about 1,000 square-feet of space next to the bar area that is undesignated.

“It looks like it could all be a bar,” he said.

Curtis Sachs, Cape Advisors’ project manager for the Baron’s Cove project, explained the area would be lobby space, and similar to C/o The Maidstone in East Hampton the lobby and bar would share space.

Ferraris replied his concern was being able to differentiate between seats in the lobby and the eight designated seats in the bar.

“Will there be waitress service in that lobby area,” he wondered.

Ferraris explained that neighbors have expressed a desire for the village to prevent the possibility of another nightlife destination like Rocco’s — that space is now taken by the defunct West Water Street condominium project.

“We are as far from a nightclub as you can get,” said Sachs. “This is a family friendly resort. It really is just an amenity for the hotel itself.”

“I think Greg’s concern is transparency, and that we understand what it is and how many people occupy the space,” added board member Larry Perrine.

Sachs presented board members with images of the restaurant, lobby and bar area to give them a feel for the aesthetic the company hopes to create at Baron’s Cove Inn.

Jack Tagliasacchi, a planning board member and restaurant owner in Sag Harbor, said he was concerned this was a full-blown restaurant and not one that would be an accessory to the motel, particularly in the summer.

While Tagliasacchi supported the idea of a restaurant at the new Baron’s Cove Inn, he also clarified that the planning board needs to ensure the space doesn’t evolve into another popular nightlife spot.

“We will be running the restaurant and to do anything beyond a family friendly business would go against our brand,” assured Sachs. “It would erode everything we have done in Cape May and in the other projects we are developing here.”

Cape Advisors has completed several historic re-development projects in Cape May, New Jersey, and is also approved to re-develop the former Bulova Watchcase Factory into luxury condominiums later this fall.

Sachs added the majority of the resort’s revenue is projected to come from room sales, and operating a noisy restaurant and bar would not be in keeping with running a high end hotel.

“Knowing the summer months, your restaurant will gross more than your rooms then,” said Tagliasacchi, adding the resort will bring tourism into Sag Harbor, which is a good thing for the local economy.

Board chairman Neil Slevin wondered if the board could place covenants on the property to protect neighbors.

Sag Harbor environmental planning consultant Rich Warren noted that the law specifically prohibits a restaurant with the characteristics of a bar or nightclub. Village attorney Denise Schoen said the board can also demand strict enforcement from the village’s code enforcement department, which could go as far as to count the seats in Baron’s Cove bar each Saturday night to ensure the crowd was not dominating the space.

Tiffany Scarlato, an attorney representing KBR Associates and Cape Advisors, said her clients would provide the board with a comprehensive narrative on the intended use of the lobby space, as well as a layout of all the planned furniture and seating in both the bar and lobby space before the board’s November 22 meeting.

Bulova Project is Funded; Groundbreaking Expected This Fall

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The long neglected building and property in the center of Sag Harbor Village known as the Bulova Watchcase Factory is intrinsically linked to Sag Harbor’s industrial heritage. For years now, village residents have been left wondering whether a village-approved luxury condominium project would eventually replace the crumbling factory.

This week, residents finally have that answer.

Three years after it was initially approved for a 65-unit luxury condominium project on the parcel, Cape Advisors announced this week it has closed a financing deal with Deutsche Bank, its new partner in the Bulova project.

The deal was struck last Thursday, according to Cape Advisors project manager David Kronman.

In a press release issued on Wednesday afternoon, Cape Advisors and the Deutsche Bank Commercial Real Estate Group announced it has closed on a $60 million investment “to fully fund the development and rehabilitation of the Watchcase Factory Lofts” in Sag Harbor.

Calling the former factory building “a majestic red brick, nineteenth century industrial building,” located on 2.3 acres in the heart of Sag Harbor, the firms said they believe the “vast interior spaces and original architectural details will create a dramatic and unique residential environment.”

“We are extremely pleased that in these difficult economic times we were able to partner with Deutsche Bank in moving forward with this exciting project,” said Craig Wood, co-managing partner of Cape Advisors. “This fall, over 30 years after the Bulova Watchcase Factory closed, we will begin construction to restore this historic building and fully integrate it into the fabric of the Sag Harbor community.”

Kronman said he expects his firm will pull a building permit from the Village of Sag Harbor’s Building Department sometime this week. Ground will be broken on the Bulova project sometime in the next 30 to 60 days, he added. Once construction has begun on the property, the project is expected to take between 18 and 24 months.

“We are obviously really excited,” said Kronman on Tuesday. “We think it is a testament to the project and to Sag Harbor that despite the rough economic climate we were able to secure the financing to get the project built. It speaks to the viability of the project and the faith that exists in the Sag Harbor market.”

“Certainly, I am glad to see this move forward,” said Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride. “I wish them the best and I cannot wait to see this get started.”

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.

The factory building, which for 100 years operated as the industrial heart of the village under a number of company banners until its doors were closed in the early 1980s, has long remained dormant. The property, located at Division and Church streets, is a state Superfund site. Remediation is ongoing and required for the apartment project to move forward.

Developers have tried over the years to re-develop the property, without success, until Cape Advisors came along over four years ago.

The firm embarked on a two-year approval process for their plans — easily the largest re-development project in Sag Harbor Village history. What quickly emerged as the central issue during the review was whether or not the developers would include affordable housing on-site as per a requirement of the Suffolk County Planning Commission

Eventually, after much debate, the village planning and zoning board of appeals agreed to overrule the planning commission and accept $2.5 million from Cape Advisors to be funneled into the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust.

In a deal reached last month with the village planning board, the affordable housing payment schedule was changed, allowing Cape Advisors to pay into the fund as sales of the units are closed. However, the village will be allowed to accrue interest on a first $582,600 once Cape Advisors secures its building permit.

In addition to affordable housing, the village was criticized and later sued over its environmental review of the Bulova project. While that case was eventually dismissed on a technicality, during the review process and ensuing litigation, the economy tanked worldwide and a housing crisis emerged. Despite continued pledges of support for the Bulova project by Cape Advisors, the Bulova building remained shrouded in scaffolding as two years passed.

All of that will change this fall.

“I am happy and I hope that this project brings life back to that building,” said Mayor Gilbride. “I am also glad in that while construction is happening at Bulova, it will be helpful to our delis, our restaurants, our shops, and the entire village’s economy. So we got a lot of good news this week.”



Deal Secures Luxury Condos at Former Bulova Watchcase Factory

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Financing for the condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory may be secured sometime in the next two weeks, according to Cape Advisors project manager David Kronman. That news came on Tuesday night after the firm was granted changes to its 2008 approval by the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board.

Among the changes to Cape Advisors approval was an amendment to its payment schedule of over $2.5 million to the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust in lieu of providing on-site affordable housing. Three years ago, this was one of the most hotly debated issues during the project’s review by the village.

Citing economic turbulence in the period since the project was approved, last month Cape Advisors founder Craig Wood asked the planning board to consider changing the payment schedule. He requested that his firm be able to make payments to the trust in equal increments following the closing sale of each of the 65 units within the condo project.

The planning board originally required Cape Advisors to pay $582,600 into the trust upon receipt of its building permit. Following the first payment, $194,200 was to be paid when the developers received certificates of occupancy for the first five units, and the same amount each time they received a certificate of occupancy for the 10th to 15th units.

According to planning board chairman Neil Slevin, after Wood’s request last month, the village and Cape Advisors renegotiated the payment schedule.

“I think I am speaking for all of the board when I say this was not a completely easy decision to make,” said Slevin on Tuesday night. “We were all concerned.”

Slevin said board members were hesitant to subvert the creation of the housing trust fund, but at the same time did not want to put the Bulova project at risk. Last month, Wood said that after failing to find financing for the project for over two years, changing the affordable housing payment schedule was crucial to move the project forward.

In the new agreement, the planning board agreed to allow Cape Advisors to pay $582,600 to the housing trust in five equal payments of $116,520 at the closing sale of the first five condominium units. A second payment of $194,2000, in equal payments of $38,840 would follow with the sale of the next five units and the remaining $1,747,800 would be paid in 54 equal payments of $31,778.18 upon sale of the remaining 55 units.

The village will be allowed to accrue interest on the first $582,6000 upon the issuance of a building permit for the project at two points above the 10-year treasury rate as of the first of each year, with the principal sum reduced after each payment. For example, after the first payment of $116,520, the principal balance the village will be able to charge interest on will be $466,080.

Cape Advisors will be prohibited, under the planning board’s resolution, from transferring each unit’s certificate of occupancy to the new homeowners without making payment. Additionally, the housing money will now be protected by a covenant, which will run with the land should the firm sell the property, until the full $2.5 million has been paid to the trust.

Cape Advisors was also given exemption from providing a crossing guard at the now closed Stella Maris Regional School, unless that school is reopened, and will only need to provide either a bond or letter or credit to the village before beginning construction.

“I think everyone views this as a reasonable alternative,” said Slevin.

“Certainly, the amount we are asking for is the same plus we are getting interest on the money and the covenants we are implementing at this time secures the payments,” said planning board member Greg Ferraris. “And we are not jeopardizing the approval in any way.”

In addition to the village creating a formal liaison committee to work with developers as construction begins, Slevin said Mayor Brian Gilbride has agreed to hire a professional engineer to work on behalf of the village to ensure the project is completed to satisfaction.

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, and an underground parking facility is also planned for the project, which estimates have shown could cost nearly $100 million to complete.

Bulova Project Getting Back on Track

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It has been three years since Cape Advisors was given final approval by the Village of Sag Harbor to construct luxury condominiums at the historic Bulova Watchcase Factory. Following approval, the economy tanked, lawsuits were filed over the village’s approval of the project and for the better part of two years the watchcase factory has sat shrouded in scaffolding, with little word on whether or not the project would resume.

On Tuesday night, at the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board meeting, Cape Advisors founder Craig Wood announced the condominium project could move forward as early as this fall, but only if the planning board allowed three changes to its approval of the development, including when Cape Advisors must pay over $2.5 million into the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust.

Without almost immediate approval of these changes, given the turbulent economic worldwide forecast of recent weeks, Wood questioned whether or not this opportunity would pass by both Cape Advisors, and the village at large.

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, and an underground parking facility is also planned for the project, which estimates have shown could cost nearly $100 million to complete.

The factory building, which for 100 years operated as the industrial heart of the village under a number of company banners until its doors were closed in the early 1980s, has remained dormant for over 20 years, although a few have tried, and failed, to redevelop the site. The property, located at Division and Church streets, is a state Superfund site. Remediation is ongoing and required for the apartment project to move forward.

On Tuesday, after years of not having the financing to move forward with the project, Wood said his firm hoped “to close with a new lender in early September and start construction this fall.”

“We are very concerned with moving this along quickly given the state of the world,” added Wood, noting his company needs a few of the 70 conditions in the village’s approval of the project altered in order to secure financing for the project.

The first issue, said Wood, is the request that Cape Advisors change the payment schedule for the $2,524,600 it agreed to pay into the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust in lieu of on-site affordable housing, easily the most debated issue during the planning board’s review of the project.

Following the affordable housing debate, and a requirement the village ultimately overrode by the Suffolk County Planning Commission for 20 percent on-site affordable housing in the project, the planning board required Cape Advisors pay $2.5 million into the newly created Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust. That organization would then use that capital to start affordable housing efforts within the Sag Harbor School District.

In the planning board’s resolution approving the Bulova condominiums, it required Cape Advisors pay $582,600 into the trust when it is issued its building permit. Following the first payment, $194,200 must be paid each time the developers receive certificates of occupancy for the first five units, and the same amount each time they receive a certificate of occupancy for the 10th to 15th units.

Wood said his firm would instead propose that payment to the trust be made with each closing sale of the 65 units.

“And this is required for our loan as well,” said Wood.

Wood also asked that the planning board’s requirement for a liaison committee — made up of planning and architectural review board members, as well as police and the building department — be assembled immediately.

Wood said his firm would also like to post bond, but not the second letter of credit, as required by the village for projects of this scale to ensure their growth, performance and the maintenance of sidewalks.

Lastly, Wood asked Cape Advisors not be required to have a crossing guard stationed at the cross walk to the Stella Maris Regional School across from the Bulova site, given the school is closed. If it reopens, Wood said the firm would reinstate the crossing guard requirement.

Planning board member and former mayor Greg Ferraris, who was also one of the founders of the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust along with the new village attorney Denise Schoen, said that both he and Schoen have formally resigned from that board to avoid a conflict of interest. Stacy Pennebaker remains the committee’s president.

According to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, the housing trust will be asked to work closely with the Long Island Housing Partnership in implementing affordable housing in the village, once it has the funds to get off the ground.

On Tuesday night, Ferraris added that he and Schoen both agreed that their input into the evening’s discussion should be kept minimal.

Board member Jack Tagliasacchi said he believed everyone on the board realizes “the economy is very, very bad.”

He said he believed changing the affordable housing payment schedule, as well as the crossing guard requirement, made sense, but that he would like the village’s attorney to review the request before the board formally adopts a resolution regarding bonds.

“I think as a part of the deliberation process we have to think about the implications to the applicants, the financial environment has already changed, but we also have to think about what it means to the village,” said planning board chairman Neil Slevin, adding he was uncomfortable voting on the measure that evening.

Tagliasacchi agreed.

“I know you have been waiting very long, and so have we,” he said.

Wood countered that while he understood the village’s position, during the two years it took to gain village approval for the Bulova project, his firm lost two financiers.

“With the instability of the world today, we want to close as soon as possible so we can build this project,” said Wood, imploring the board to schedule a special meeting before its September 27 meeting to weigh in on Cape Advisor’s requests.

“We are concerned with that building as much as you,” said Tagliasacchi.

Slevin said the village would immediately form the liaison committee and the board was comfortable waiving the crossing guard requirement, but that in relation to bonds and affordable housing needed legal counsel.

Schoen added the planning board could in fact hold a special meeting if they so desired.

“The bank wants to move forward and they don’t want to wait a month,” said former attorney for Cape Advisors and Sag Harbor resident Dennis Downes. “I think all of us would like to see this project come to a conclusion.”