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Pending Subdivision Could Prove Record Setting Land Deal A Shrewd Investment

Originally Posted: September 21, 2009

Aaron Boyd

As the subdivision application makes its way through the East Hampton Planning Board, it will be interesting to see if Baron can recoup some of the $103 million purchase price to make his beachside home a worthwhile investment. Photo by Aaron Boyd

East Hampton - When a portion of the Atlantic double dunes was allegedly flattened during the construction of a retaining wall on the former de Menil property on Further Lane, the media pounced on the story of a billionaire investor's development on the biggest residential real estate sale in U.S. history. Now, with the restoration of dune vegetation in the affected area and variances before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to maintain the eastern-most part of the wall, much of the controversy surrounding the Baron property has ended, though the development of the property should still be interesting to watch over the next several years.

The 40-acre property was purchased from Adelaide de Menil by investor Ron Baron for $103 million in 2007, marking the largest residential sale at the time. Several historic houses that sat on the property were removed at the time of sale and transported in front of Town Hall, where construction crews continue to transform the buildings into the new Historic Town Hall Complex. Baron built himself a home on the western third of the property, which sits within the jurisdiction of East Hampton Village, and has filed a pre-preliminary subdivision application with the East Hampton Town Planning Board to parse the property into six separate lots, three of which would be beachfront, including Baron's own.

The former de Menil property, purchased by Ron Baron in 2007, is one of the last subdividable, oceanfront parcels left in Amagansett, and in East Hampton as a whole. Image courtesy of Google Earth

According to the application currently in the Planning Board files, the three lots situated behind the oceanfront parcels would be reserved to provide guest home accommodations on separate and distinct parcels from the main house. With the sale of those two properties, Baron could come close to recouping at least some of the exorbitant purchase price.

An oceanfront home on three acres near Two Mile Hollow Lane down the street from Baron's property recently sold for $14 million, according to Bonny Aarons, a senior vice-president at Prudential Elliman Real Estate in East Hampton, and in the recent past a number of properties in the area have sold for upwards of $25 million.

With only two oceanfront lots, Baron would only be expected to collect some $50 million, however sale of the primary lots in tandem with the guest lots could push the price higher. A 10-acre parcel stretching from the street to the beach could fetch $42 million, by Aarons' assessment, though she was quick to state that "it's very hard to price the raw land," before any development takes place, "it's such a rare thing." Those projections would get closer to the $103 million mark, and as available properties continue to be eaten up across the Hamptons the premium on prime beachfront land will only rise.

There are no more large parcels left on Further Lane, with Baron's property being one of the last oceanfront properties where a person could build themselves a home, subdivide the remaining land and recoup some substantial portion of the land costs. With the acreage to construct three separate luxury estates, the billionaire investor may have gotten in on one of the last worthwhile investments in East Hampton.

Updated: October 5, 2009, 12:28 pm
Appeared In: real estate >> top stories