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Feb 25, 2013 5:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Former Library And Parrish Art Museum Education Building Now Up For Rent

Feb 26, 2013 2:59 PM

Those passing by the original home of the Rogers Memorial Library on Jobs Lane in Southampton Village, most recently utilized as the Parrish Art Museum’s Carroll Petrie Center for Education, will notice a Morley Agency Real Estate sign. The building’s owner, Jonathan Sobel, who purchased it for $2.875 million last summer from the Parrish Art Museum, said he is ready to find a tenant.

When he bought the building, Mr. Sobel, who also owns the BMW, Mini, Audi and Porsche dealerships on County Road 39 in Southampton, temporarily leased it back to the museum for $1 so that the Parrish could continue using it for its educational programming through January 1. The museum moved to its new building in Water Mill in November. Mr. Sobel has been a “grand patron” of the Parrish Art Museum’s Midsummer Party galas and is an art collector.

Now that the building is vacant, Mr. Sobel said he’s waiting for the right tenant or tenants to move in before he renovates the 119-year-old building, because the new tenant will have his or her own vision for the space.

Morley Quatroche Jr., of the Morley Agency, said they are aiming to have the building filled by the beginning of the summer season—but Mr. Sobel said he is in no rush. “The most important thing is finding the right tenant that is going to be appropriate for the building, for the location, and the village,” he said.

Mr. Sobel and Mr. Quatroche both said the plan is to lease the building to a national retail company on a permanent basis that will be around 12 months of the year.

“If it were my choice, I would never do any seasonal leases ever in any of my buildings,” Mr. Quatroche said. “That sets a bad tone in the village. ‘Pop-up’ means cancer in the village. But whether or not we end up doing that and get an opportunity that we can’t refuse is another story.”

Although he’s talked to several companies, Mr. Sobel said he hasn’t contracted with one yet. He wouldn’t reveal what companies have expressed interest, but said that “retail” could also mean a bank or brokerage firm. In light of news of a potential Citarella market on Hampton Road that is currently before the Village Planning Board, Mr. Sobel said he has not been approached by a market business owner—but said he isn’t opposed to the idea. “I’m willing to speak to anyone who is credible and will enhance the space,” he said.

Of course, because the structure is a historic building, whatever company moves in will have to work around its many covenants aimed to protect its facade.

“Nothing needs immediate attention,” he said. “There has been deferred maintenance, which is usually part of any renovation.”

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