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Realty Check

By Barbara Baker - March 5, 2021

Hot Sales & Listings…With a Dollop of Hamptons Gossip

Steinbeck’s ‘Eden’ Awaits             

The former home of literary lion John Steinbeck is on the market in Sag Harbor for $17.9 million. Located at 2 Bluff Point Lane, the 1.8-acre waterfront peninsula comes with a modest 1,200-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bath home, built in 1953, overlooking Morris Cove and Upper Sag Harbor Cove. The property, which has remained in the Steinbeck family since the legend’s death in 1968, is significant in that the Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author wrote “The Winter of Our Discontent,” modeled in part by the former whaling village and its environs, and “Travels With Charley” there. Filled with mementos, such as a prominently placed painting of Steinbeck’s dog, Charley, near the fireplace in the living room; bookcase-lined walls throughout, including a “Library Loft’ overlooking the living room; and Steinbeck’s outside “Writing House,” a gazebo-like structure overlooking the water at the tip of the land, the estate is an homage to one of America’s most celebrated writers. The property, represented by Doreen Atkins of Sotheby’s International Realty, also features 586 feet of frontage with sandy beach and sunset views, a small guest cottage, freeform pool, outdoor shower and a 60-foot boat dock.

Sticky Wicket          

The legendary Briar Patch estate on Georgica Pond in East Hampton might be coming to the auction block soon. Once on the market for $140 million, the coveted 11.2-acre property, currently owned by entrepreneur Chris Whittle and photographer Priscilla Rattazzi, has been reduced to $95 million and is in a must-sell situation, according to published reports. Whittle, the former CEO of Avenues: The World School and Esquire magazine, founded the for-profit Edison Schools. Currently the chairman of Whittle School & Studio, his involvement with a lawsuit that landed in the Supreme Court back in 2018 has him forced to sell the two waterfront lots and all five structures located at 90 and 100 Briar Patch. The secluded and gracious compound comprises a circa-1931, 13,800-square-foot main house by architect Arthur C. Jackson, which features six bedrooms, eight full and two half bathrooms and five fireplaces; a 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath guest house, with fireplace, designed by Peter Marino in 1990; Gunite pool and spa with teak deck and pool cabana; a pair of garages; sunken Har-Tru tennis court; private pond; 1,155 feet of frontage; ocean views; mature sycamore and beech trees; and nature trails that wind throughout. Bespoke Real Estate currently represents the listing, to be sold as a single lot.

A Risky Gamble

The Shinnecock Indian Nation has announced that it will break ground on a 76,000-square-foot casino complex come summertime. The site, wholly owned by the tribe and approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission, will include 11 acres along Montauk Highway, just west of West Gate Road and Southampton Village, pending environmental review. With plans to open as early as mid-year 2023, the Shinnecock Casino Hamptons, which does not need to adhere to local zoning laws, will be a Class II gaming facility outfitted with 1,000 video lottery terminals and 30 poker tables, limited to Texas Hold ‘Em. Looking forward, the tribe has reported that the ultimate goal is to expand to a Class III gaming facility, such as Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, which allows for a larger footprint, table games such as blackjack and roulette and slot machines. Hurdles for that classification, however, are high and must be negotiated with the New York State’s Governor’s office. Tri State Partners, a development firm with ties to the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the hard Rock Hotel & Casino chain, will oversee food concessions and entertainment options. The tribe reports that the casino will bring 400 jobs to the area. Elected officials have expressed concern that the endeavor will stress the environment and further clog already dense traffic congestion while providing a poor form of economic development. The Shinnecock Indian Nation, which owns 800 acres of land in Southampton Town, recently erected a second 61-foot-tall digital billboard on Route 27. Sited on the westbound side of the heavily traveled route in and out of the Hamptons, and located on New York State’s right of way, that billboard and its twin on the eastbound side of the road, are in defiance of the New York State Department of Transportation and is in direct violation of state and federal law.

Sweet Sale     

Southampton’s vaunted “Sugar Cube House,” designed by world-renowned designer and architect Daniel Romualdez, has sold. The last asking price was $11,950,000. Located on First Neck Lane in the heart of the village, the house features numerous entertaining spaces and a beautiful covered terrace overlooking the spectacular gardens. The meticulously landscaped backyard is described as being like a dream with its statuesque hallway of trees enclosing the pool and lavender garden. Michaela Keszler of Douglas Elliman Real Estate represented the listing.

That Was Fast

The “world’s first 3D-printed home for sale,” located at 34 Millbrook Lane in Calverton on the North Fork has hit the market for $299,999. Represented by Steven King of Realty Connect, the 1,407-square-foot home was printed in eight days and with building materials that cost less than $6,000. Built by Patchogue-based SQ4D Inc., the three-bedroom, two-bath home sits on a quarter of an acre, is energy efficient and “provides a stronger build than traditional concrete structures,” according to the listing. Renderings show an open floor plan, upscale interiors and a detached two-car garage.

Newsman To Buy Vineyard          

Dan Abrams, the chief legal correspondent at ABC News, has gone into contract to purchase Laurel Lake Vineyards. The 40-acre property, located at 3165 Main Road in Laurel, had not been publicly listed. The newsman and author, who recently wrote “Big Macs & Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World,” already owns a home on the North Fork and has reported that he’d like to try his hand at luxury winemaking. A re-launch of the brand is planned for this summer, with new vines, new wines, and some new talent added to the mix. Current staff, including winemaker and co-owner Juan Sepulveda, have been asked to stay on as well. No word yet on how much the property is expected to trade for or the brokerages involved.

OC Out           

Controversially outspoken “Real Housewives of Orange County’ star Kelly Dodd and Fox News senior correspondent Rick Leventhal, whose primary residence is on the West Coast, have put the Westhampton cottage where they met on the market. Located at 9 Tanners Neck, the 1,278-squar-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath home is listed for $1.195 million with Allen and Courtney Piliero of Douglas Elliman.

Built in 1991 and marketed as a “home with a beachy atmosphere and bay views,” the ranch-style house is sited on .62-of an acre and comes with a solid rental history, a 45-foot-by-20-foot vinyl heated pool with deck and Tiki bar, and a bay-facing rooftop deck.


Town & Country Real Estate welcomes Michael Riemerschmid to its East Hampton office. The former Wall Streeter has 30 years’ experience selling European equities to institutional investors and prides himself on negation and managing transactions. Originally from Munich, Michael and his family have been spending time in the Hamptons for the past three decades. The avid fisherman loves being on the ocean and cruising his vintage Corvette.

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