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Dec 7, 2010 4:36 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Deep Hollow Ranch Sold To J.Crew Chief

Dec 7, 2010 4:36 PM

Montauk’s famed Deep Hollow Ranch, site of the “Back at the Ranch” concert series in the 1990s, has been sold to Millard “Mickey” Drexler, Chief Executive Officer of the J. Crew company, for about $12 million, according to Prudential Douglas Elliman Vice President Paul Brennan, who brokered the deal.

The deal for the approximately 22-acre property, nearly 18 acres of which has been preserved from future development, was signed late last week, expanding Mr. Drexler’s already substantial land holdings on the East End. In 2006 Mr. Drexler, who is credited with the success of the Gap clothing retailer before he took over J. Crew, purchased the famous oceanfront Montauk estate known as Eothen, which once belonged to the artist Andy Warhol. Mr. Drexler also owns an oceanfront estate in Wainscott as well as a property fronting on Sagg Pond in Sagaponack.

Deep Hollow Ranch owner Gardner “Rusty” Leaver was in Texas on business and could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Mr. Leaver and his wife, Diane, will continue to operate and live at Deep Hollow for five years under the agreement of sale with Mr. Drexler, Mr. Brennan said, after which time the Leavers will move their cattle and horse breeding business to property they own on the north side of Montauk Highway across the street from Deep Hollow’s main pasture. The Leavers bought the ranch, where generations of Ms. Leaver’s family had worked for nearly a century, in 1971.

Once they have moved on, the Deep Hollow property will be spruced up a bit, though its overall appearance will change little, Mr. Brennan said of Mr. Drexler’s intentions.

“Mickey wants for nothing other than to own it and eventually do something nice there,” he explained. “It will remain basically the same, just as a more pastoral setting rather than a working farm. I think it will be a good thing for Montauk, it keeps the character in place.”

The Deep Hollow property consists of the main pasture area, about 18 acres, the Leavers’ ranch house at the southern end of the pasture and an undeveloped 2-acre area adjacent the existing house that is not protected from development.

Deep Hollow had been on the market since 2007, with a $17 million asking price. The Leavers sold the development rights to nearly 18 acres of the property, the main pasture that fronts on Montauk Highway, in 1983 for $120,000—one of the first ever municipal purchases of land for preservation on the South Fork. In 2008 the Leavers had proposed selling the development rights on the remaining property to the town for just over $4 million, but public opposition to the deal derailed it.

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At least it's preserved, with no apparent intention of creating some avaristic, monument to excess on the site.

Eventually, Mr. Drexler just might own all of Montauk, if he keeps this up...
By Mr. Z (11696), North Sea on Dec 10, 10 11:56 AM
Remember when leaver tried to get the town to buy the property after he already sold them the development rights about 5 years ago. Town almost went for it until the locals went ballistic. That had to be one of the funniest things.

What are you guys drinking in the water out there in Montauk ?

By Bilge Water (131), East Hampton on Dec 10, 10 1:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
deep hollow ranch is actually across the street and is owned by the county who leases it to Leaver.

i believe what drexel bought is called indian field.

a local paper should know this
By tm (174), mtk on Dec 11, 10 6:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Remember when Rusty was re-selling other people's horses to OTHER people.
Imagine that. And how about that chop meat eating incident in Florida. They should change their name to LEAVE as in leave Montauk.
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Dec 12, 10 12:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Anyone need a better example of income disparity in the US?
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Dec 13, 10 8:39 AM
Nope, not really...
By Mr. Z (11696), North Sea on Dec 15, 10 8:47 AM
nice people that have done A LOT of good things for the area.
By NandSforker (3), Ronkonkoma on Dec 13, 10 12:47 PM
Deep Hollow Ranch aerial photo by Alex Ferrone.
By AlexFerrone (2), Peconic on Dec 21, 10 11:34 AM