Inlet Seafood: Unique Development Opportunity

Montauk’s iconic Inlet Seafood, a five-acre parcel at the head of Montauk Harbor that is both a restaurant and a fishing cooperative, has hit the market – the restaurant alone is $15 million, the restaurant with the dock is $21 million. There is an ample parking area and mini-mart, and according to co-owner Richard Jones, the deep-water dock that comes with the deal is also “the largest seafood packing dock in the state of New York.”

This tiny tidbit equates to endless appeal for the right buyer,  whether it is destined to metamorphosis into a jet-setter’s private residence or a mini-Montauk Yacht Club.  According to Brown Harris Stevens agent Bruce Pellman, more than a few potential buyers have already been nibbling at his lines.

The owners are a group of six commercial fishermen – David Aripotch, Stuart Foley, William Grimm, Richard Jones, Kevin Maguire, and Charles Weimar — who have worked alongside one another for decades. They purchased the property about 14 years ago and had rented it in years prior, opening the restaurant seven years ago.

While Jones said this is “by no means a fire sale,” he admitted that “it’s not getting any easier in the fishing business.”

The owners have seriously docked their asking price since the property went on the market for $38.5 million in beautiful, sunny 2008, but the $21 million price tag pushed by Brown Harris Stevens this season is still enough to make each of them a millionaire – not a bad retirement for a working guy. In August, Brown Harris Stevens had listed the property for $21 million.

Most of Montauk may be on the auction block – including the nearby Montauk Airport and the Montauket bar and hotel – but this listing is certainly unique.

At the end of East Lake Drive and head of the harbor, Inlet is a quick zip line ride away from Gosman’s – were zip lines an accepted mode of transportation in Montauk Harbor. With the restaurant strategically situated on the second floor, it boasts great sunset views. Coupled with the abundance of fresh fish made available by the owners and a surging global interest in all things Montauk, it’s no surprise that 2012 has thus far been a record-breaking season for the restaurant.

According to Pellman, this season’s restaurant sales have surpassed the commercial fishing portion of the business, which brings in fluke, codfish and squid destined for various markets. The dock includes at least 28 boat slips and comes along with an ice plant and 12,000-gallon diesel storage facility.

“Hopefully if someone did buy it we would continue to pack out fish there,” said Jones, who has no plans of leaving his life on the water in the near future.

With potential buyers and investor groups from as far away as India eyeing the spot, a new yacht club seems a more likely scenario. At Inlet, “you have deep water, unlike across the way,” said Pellman, referencing the basins on the west side of the harbor such as the Montauk Yacht Club. “They don’t have deep water so you can’t bring the big boats in there.”

As an exclusive club, “it’s the perfect scenario… The downstairs is like a clubhouse, if you will, the upstairs is a restaurant.”

According to Jones, before the restaurant was built the property was home to a seven-unit hotel and a house. While the zoning is no longer in place, Pellman said the potential was there to set up condominiums, as was suggested by another investor group that expressed interest in the property.

“You would have to apply for it,” he said, adding the opinion that this would be more than feasible for something “very botiquey, and very special.”

As Brown Harris Stevens maintains an advertising partnership with Christie’s International Real Estate, “we have advertising going on all over the world for this property,” said Pellman.

Even as a private residence, there is plenty of potential, he said. “It’s a very special spot. We’re coming out of a recession and people realize  there isn’t any more land. Somebody’s going to do something great with it.”

Get more Hamptons real estate news and stories at www.danshamptons.com.

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