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Nov 24, 2008 2:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Big plans for prominent intersection

Nov 24, 2008 2:26 PM

A landmark corner at the center of Bridgehampton soon could look drastically different if the owner of a beverage store on Montauk Highway at the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike gets his wish.

Leonard Ackerman, an East Hampton attorney who owns several properties on the East End, recently filed an application to the Southampton Town Planning Board to build a 10,000-square-foot bank, office and retail complex on the corner.

Mr. Ackerman, who is the chairman of the board of directors of Georgica Bank, had been planning to house 
the bank’s main branch there, according to Georgica’s chief retail officer, Sandra Novick. But bank officials announced this week that they have withdrawn their charter due to their inability to raise the funds to get off the ground.

Mr. Ackerman has been traveling and was unavailable for comment this week. It is unclear whether he plans to pursue the building anyway.

If the project were complete, however, it could give continuity to an intersection long plagued by traffic problems by eliminating the entrances in the front of the property.

Mr. Ackerman owns the brick building next door, which originally housed the Bridgehampton National Bank and is now a Starbucks coffee shop and a real estate office, and his plan includes changing the internal layout of the parking lot behind Starbucks to incorporate the new project.

The corner that currently houses Bridgehampton Beverage, a shingled, wood frame building, is the odd corner out in an intersection framed by historic houses. Across the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike lies the Bull’s Head Inn, a 150-year-old Greek Revival building. Across Montauk Highway is the Hopping House, a nearly 200-year-old captain’s house in the same Greek Revival style, which is currently under restoration and will be used as the Bridgehampton Historical Society’s headquarters.

According to Mr. Ackerman’s application, the beverage store stands on the site of a former gas station, which had been built after the historic John Wick’s Tavern was demolished on the site in 1941. Mr. Ackerman’s plan 
calls for a half brick and half wood shingled building that would eliminate the front parking lot and be flush with the sidewalk. The current curb cuts into the site from the corners of the intersection would be eliminated, and all traffic into the site would first pull into the existing parking lot behind Starbucks.

A two-story house, which is on a narrow lot between the beverage store and the rear exit to the Starbucks parking lot, would be demolished, according to the plan. Overall, the new configuration would contain 97 parking spaces; Mr. Ackerman is asking for a waiver for 22 parking spaces.

The Planning Board began a state-mandated environmental quality review of the project on November 6 and will be the lead agency on the project. The Suffolk County Health Department, the Suffok County Department of Public Works and the New York State Department of Transportation will be involved in the review.

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