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Hamptons Life

Jan 8, 2018 10:37 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Speonk 'Castle' Comes Down, Clearing Way For Affordable Housing

Jan 9, 2018 11:02 AM

A “castle” crashing to the ground marks the birth of affordable housing in the hamlet of Speonk.

Passersby witnessed the rundown turreted former boardinghouse at 41 North Phillips Avenue come down on Wednesday, January 3, the first hint of the impending construction of six buildings planned to hold 38 apartments for lower-income individuals and families.

However, the exact date when those structures, dubbed the “Speonk Commons,” will be unveiled is yet to be determined. “We don't yet know the timeline,” said Curtis Highsmith Jr., the executive director of the Southampton Housing Authority, on Friday, after a winter storm blanketed the East End in snow. “We were not prepared for this snow.”

Despite the wintry curveball, the Southampton Housing Authority and Georgica Green Ventures, a for-profit Jericho-based company that builds affordable housing, are making progress on a project initiated by a different developer—Jay Kopf, the owner of the construction management and general contracting firm CMA Enterprises in Manhattan—in 2012. Mr. Kopf pitched a slightly different affordable housing facility with 68 one-bedroom units. That project was never approved and the sale of the property was never completed.

Since then, fears of overcrowding sparked much public debate over the affordable housing plans, but the Southampton Town Board approved the zoning charge from half-acre residential to multifamily use in March 2017, allowing the applicants to move on to the site planning and, ultimately, construction phase.

The approved plan for the 4.28-acre property calls for a mix of 12 studio apartments of less than 600 square feet each and 14 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units ranging from 600 to 1,200 square feet. The income range for residents is to be between 60 and 90 percent of the area median income.

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Who manages the property after construction? The Housing Authority?
By Mouthampton (409), Southampton on Jan 10, 18 12:31 PM