You can’t get farther from New York City than Montauk on Long Island’s Eastern tip but developer George Filopoulos and his partner bet the wealthy are willing to pay to live there.
While the rich and famous like to summer in Hamptons in the island, quieter money has been seeking out the budget-priced fishing village. But with laws preventing building on the water, there’s been sparse accommodation for those who can afford it.
Filopoulos, owner of Metrovest Equities, and Lloyd Goldman, a developer and founder of BLDG Management, have renovated the former Gurney’s Inn into Gurney’s Montauk Resort with room rates of $1,800 a month, and offering 15 oceanfront homes with prices from $5-$12 million.
The homebuyers will have access to all the services of the resort, including spa, seawater pool, and beach club. The residences were carved out of the former Panoramic View, a 117-room 1950s hotel on a green hillside next to Gurney’s.
The Wall Street Journal’s Josh Barbanel detailed how Filopoulos and Goldman came to acquire the resort and hotel after its former owners were forced to put it up for sale eight years after the bought it and then ran into the 2008 financial crisis and being accused by the government of using unrelated investor funds to funnel money into the Panoramic.
Last December, in a court-ordered sale, Filopoulos and Goldman bought the controlling interest in the Panoramic for $63.9 million. It was more than just business though: Filopoulos knew what he was getting into.
Filopoulos has summered in Montauk for many years and told The Journal it’s a place where “a billionaire can have a beer with the local fisherman and local surfer at the local bar.”
He and his partner bought Gurney’s in 2013 and started renovations while bringing in a restaurant group to open a branch of the Scarpetta restaurant in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
They are now re-gutting and re-renovating. The largest home is a five-bedroom unit totaling about 4,300 square feet, including an outdoor deck and a patio.
Montauk has a number of famous summer and year-round residents already, including Robert DeNiro, playwright Edward Albee and fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Prices are soaring with a white-shingled cottage once owned by Andy Warhol going for $48.7 million in December, 2015, eight years after it set a then previous-record in Montauk of $27.5 million.
The residences are part of the old Panoramic, duplexes and triplexes that come with glass walls opening onto terraces facing dunes and the beach. They are designed to look like Hamptons oceanfront homes: wide plank floors, white walls and white marble interiors.
Jennifer Brew, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens, who spends her summers in Montauk, told The Journal the community was attracting wealthy buyers who reject the “cashmere” of Southampton and East Hampton and the bohemian vibe of nearby Amagansett.
“I find that there is a particular set, an age group, a financial group that is paying for nostalgia”, she said, even as boutiques pop up in Montauk, taking away from the authenticity.
The buyers for the homes will pay more than what they cost: because the Panoramic was converted to a co-op back in the 1980s, the homes being offered are co-ops and come with steep maintenance and other fees of about $2,200 a month for a typical three-bedroom.
Filopoulos and Goldman are betting the view’s worth it.