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Hamptons Life

Aug 10, 2015 4:29 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Duryea's: What's In Store

Duryea's Lobster Deck in Montauk. KYRIL BROMLEY
Aug 10, 2015 4:53 PM

Marc Rowan, the co-founder of a New York City-based private equity firm, is the new owner of the Duryea’s Lobster Deck property on Fort Pond Bay in Montauk.

Mr. Rowan purchased 65 and 66 Tuthill Road together for a total of $6.35 million in March 2014. His plan is to demolish virtually all the existing structures, including the current takeout restaurant, fish market, fish processing area, ice house, and a two-story residence, and put up a new, 6,350-square-foot restaurant with 4,300 square feet of decking, among other structures.

“It’s an amazing location, amazing sunset, and has a lot of heritage,” Mr. Rowan said on the phone last week, noting that the older buildings were built before people were even thinking about global warming and FEMA regulations.

“I would like to see this building last for another hundred years,” he said, “but to do that the building will need to come up on pilings—it will need to move back from the sea.”

An application for conceptual site plan approval was filed over the winter with the East Hampton Town Planning Board, although architectural renderings have not yet been submitted.

JoAnne Pahwul, the town’s assistant planning director, explained that the board hopes Mr. Rowan will submit renderings that are attuned to Montauk’s character. “We recommended that they pay more tribute to the historic nature of the building that survived the 1938 hurricane,” she said, referring to the present, 10,900-square-foot commercial building, “and we were recommending that they do something more in character with that.”

A dock extending into Fort Pond Bay would be maintained; it and an “agricultural market” would be “key elements to define and maintain the quintessential, low-key, out-of-the-way lunch and sunset dining experience which has made this site a well-known destination,” according to a description of the project filed with the Planning Board.

“The objective is to create an upscale dining experience that is influenced by and absorbs the character of the commercial fishing and agricultural market, farm and sea to table, aspects of this unique site,” the description says. It notes that the applicants are actively seeking a commercial fishing boat to use the dock.

Mr. Rowan will also need approval to create a full-service restaurant, for which 100 indoor seats and 50 outdoor ones are proposed. Currently, the Lobster Deck is considered an extension of the retail takeout business, which is why it is constrained to plastic-only place settings.

A problematic part of the project, according to Ms. Pahwul, is the planned demolition of the Duryea residence located across from the Lobster Deck, on Tuthill Pond. Mr. Rowan hopes to replace it with a parking lot for the restaurant, but the house is in a residential zone.

“A sticking point is whether or not you can put commercial parking in a residential district,” Ms. Pahwul explained.
Since the property lies between Fort Pond Bay and Tuthill Pond, another major issue is sewage. Ms. Pahwul explained that the project is environmentally concerning: “We are recommending that they look at an alternative to tertiary sewage treatment that would process the sewage to a higher degree, so there is less impact on the pond.”

Mr. Rowan, whom Forbes describes as a billionaire, said he plans to return to the Planning Board sometime during the fall.

“This is a labor of love,” he said. “It isn’t what I do, it’s my passion.”

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I had a lobster roll there today for lunch. What makes it special is that unassuming side deck overlooking the see and low slung buildings. It like being on the coast of Maine. If they could keep that part of it would totally be in character with Montauk.....
By North Sea Citizen (563), North Sea on Aug 21, 15 5:23 PM
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