Southampton Town officials are poised to purchase the Bel-Aire Cove Motel in Hampton Bays and expect to demolish the building and prepare it for resale—a deal that is the first of its kind for the town.
Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the town offered to purchase the property for $1,060,000 through the town’s community development program. Once purchased, he said, the town would tear down the motel and obtain the necessary permits for redevelopment. At that point, the town would put the property up for auction, selling to the highest bidder.
“If we put in a little more than $1 million, the money the town spends, I believe, will be recouped when it goes to auction,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “This is the first time doing something like this, where the town is coming in to address a blighted situation directly by purchasing and selling it.”
Calls to Jagannath Jayaswal, whose family owns the two-story, 19-room motel, were not immediately returned.
The Bel-Aire Cove Motel has had a checkered past and has been cited for numerous code violations over the past few years.
In 2016, a study conducted and paid for by the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays alleged that the Shinnecock Road motel was responsible for elevated levels of fecal coliform, nitrogen and added ammonia found in the canal it sits on, which connects to Shinnecock Bay. At the time, fecal coliform levels were found to be at 200 mpn—an abbreviation for “most probable number”—per 100 milliliters, as per the study; fecal coliform should stay below 70 mpn per 100 milliliters, according to environmentalists.
The motel was also found to be in violation of several safety issues in October 2017—including bedbug and roach infestations, electrical violations, non-functioning smoke detectors, and overcrowding. It also has been charged that the motel operators illegally rent rooms on a long-term basis, and that the property has overflowing septic systems.
Mr. Schneiderman said if the purchase goes through as planned, the buyer would have to install a nitrogen-reducing septic system, since it sits directly on the water.
He also said the property would not be converted into affordable housing, but instead could possibly become a co-op space or condominium unit with eight units spread between two buildings, lowering the current density.
The property has been on the market for a while, Mr. Schneiderman said, and numerous people from the private sector who were interested in it failed to purchase the building because it does not conform with local zoning, and developers may fear difficulty in obtaining permits to redevelop the property.
“The town will go through the permitting process, and then we’ll sell the property with the permits in place,” he said. “Once the permits are in place, it will be a competitive auction.
“We will make it more conforming than it is,” he added.
A public hearing on the matter will be held at 6 p.m. on September 25 at Town Hall in Southampton.