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Jul 26, 2017 11:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Jobs Lane Shop Owners Aim To Remove Courtyard, Add Second Floor

The courtyard on Jobs Lane in Southampton Village that is being targeted by a redevelopment project. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jul 28, 2017 9:55 AM

A plan to demolish and redevelop a retail courtyard off the south side of Jobs Lane has been filed with Southampton Village officials.

The pre-application filed by East End Holding LLC, owners of 38-42 Jobs Lane, seeks permission to demolish the cluster of buildings in the courtyard and replace them with a pair of buildings along the Jobs Lane sidewalk, according to attorney Gil Flanagan, who represents the applicant. The new structures would be two stories and nearly twice the square footage of the existing buildings, combined, but would require no variances.

The attorney also noted that the plans additionally call for updated septic systems and an additional six parking spaces behind the buildings. The rear of the buildings would be a second entrance to the stores.

Stressing that the application is still in its preliminary stages, Mr. Flanagan said that within “the next month or two” he will be ready to go in front of the Southampton Village Planning Board to seek permission to demolish the buildings in the courtyard.

The complex currently houses Juja Active, Vilebrequin, Sea Green Designs, Pop Up Collective and Percy’s Shoes. The retail spaces measure a combined 4,700 square feet, Mr. Flanagan said. The applicant is seeking permission to demolish the buildings and replace them with two buildings, each two stories, totaling 9,500 square feet. Five retail spaces would remain, though some would be larger.

Currently, year-round retailers Juja Active and Vilebrequin have storefronts directly on Jobs Lane, while Sea Green Designs is back and center in the courtyard—and still has visibility from the street. Summer tenants Pop Up Collective and Percy’s Shoes are on the sides of the courtyard, with no visibility from the street. The courtyard also does not have a directory sign indicating to visitors that there are additional stores in the courtyard.

Mr. Flanagan said the layout of the proposed redevelopment would help bring more foot traffic to the otherwise hidden stores in the courtyard. “We worked out a design that doesn’t need any variances, which I think is important,” Mr. Flanagan added.

Roy Stevenson, chairman of the village’s Planning Board, declined to comment on the plans because it is still a pre-application and therefore isn’t officially in front of his board yet.

Shannon Willey, owner of Sea Green Designs, said on Monday that the news about the redevelopment plans is “bittersweet.” She explained that while foot traffic can be a challenge in the courtyard, she loves the charm of the rusty red brick walkway and the large gray water fountain in the center.

Ms. Willey’s said most of the courtyard is pop-up shops, so she had a selection of storefronts to choose from when she moved in during the fall of 2012. She selected hers because the sign on the front of her store is visible from Jobs Lane—unlike the two pop-up stores on the sides of the courtyard.

“We love the space, we love the atmosphere of the courtyard,” said Ms. Willey, noting that her lease is up in March. “It’s a really beautiful building, and it’s a really beautiful place, which is really conducive to the home furniture, given the layout and all of the elements that were already here.”

But she also pointed out that the brickwork in the courtyard is uneven and causes visitors to trip—especially in the winter months, when the ground is covered with ice.

“It might be easier to start from scratch,” said Ms. Willey, who used to operate her business on Hampton Road. “That’s at least how I’m rationalizing it.”

While no one officially informed Ms. Willey of the news about the project that has the potential to affect her business, she said she had a feeling something was up: Throughout the past year she noticed insurance agents taking pictures of the courtyard and a number of visits from surveyors.

Mr. Flanagan said that once the application formally goes in front of the Planning Board in about two months, letters will be sent to property owners, a poster will be put up at the property, and a notice will be published in The Press.

“We’re still in the process of finalizing the plans,” he said in a recent interview.

Mr. Flanagan added that updating the septic systems is an important part of the project, as the buildings are operating on the original system. He said he didn’t know how old the septic systems are, though he noted that they are at least as old as the buildings, which were built sometime in the 1970s. “We’ll have to dig it up to find out,” he said.

Ms. Willey, who was not familiar with the plans, said she wasn’t surprised to hear that the septic system would be part of the project, as she has heard about neighboring businesses in the courtyard having issues with their systems in the past.

Mayor Michael Irving recently reviewed the plans and said that to him it appears the proposal would help bring people into the stores. “In general, retail operations, they are a lot more successful when they get that foot traffic,” said Mr. Irving, whose wife, Ellen, runs Dazzelle, a women’s retailer just west of the courtyard on Jobs Lane.

Mr. Irving, who was elected to replace longtime Mayor Mark Epley in June, also noted that he was happy to see the new plans would give owners more storage space for extra inventory.

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And yet another public space removed and handed over to the greed and prosperity of a select few.

Sad!

By johnj (987), Westhampton on Jul 26, 17 12:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
I hate to break it to you, but that is private property of which the owner pays property taxes. It is not "public space".

By gusef (39), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 6:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
That's too bad. I've always liked this little courtyard.
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 12:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
With all the upgrades handicap up grades???
By knitter (1720), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 1:59 PM
I love that courtyard!
By Hayley-JustineGrzybowski (5), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 2:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
johnj, would you rather have vacant stores when people can't pay the rent or debt service on the building? Why don't you buy the buildings from that "greedy" property owner and make a go of it.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 17 2:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
That seems to be your answer for everything....to get a group of ppl together to buy this an buy that to solve issues......interesting logic to say the least
By toes in the water (844), southampton on Jul 28, 17 6:40 AM
It is my response since I have seen the ant'business voting block in Hampton Bays ruin the vitality of Hampton Bays. Not every small business owner is greedy. Some are our neighbors and friends and are generous to our community. So unless you walk in someone's shoes, it is rude to call someone greedy.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 28, 17 8:09 AM
NEEDS TO BE DEMOLISHED AND UPDATED, LOT'S OF………EMPTY SPACE FOR YEARS !
By carsrus (65), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 17 3:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
That is correct. I was walking back there recently, and you can break your neck back there. The property has always garnered poor foot traffic, and a previous owner told me he wanted to tear it down and that was more than 30 years ago.

As for those who "love the courtyard", I wonder how many of you ever shop on Job's Lane. This is not a museum like Colonial Williamsburg, we need business in the Village to survive.
By gusef (39), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 6:32 PM
It's a shame if this is allowed to happen. It is courtyards like these that give the Village its character, and make it visually more appealing. If allowed to happen the street will be a wall of storefronts indistinguishable from many others, and the pedestrians that wander through there would be pushed back to the sidewalks, increasing congestion. A bad idea. Sometimes "maximizing revenue" is not good public policy.

That space has been open to the public for decades - hasn't that created ...more
By Funbeer (261), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 4:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
All shopping areas are going through the same issue. The community needs to realize that these stores can't stay in business. Ask yourself, how many times have I shopped in the stores in Village? How much do you buy on line? They need to reinvent themselves to stay in business. I really wish those that don't have retail stores would stop calling those that do "greedy". Help them stay in business - shop local and support their need to reinvent themselves before you have a bunch of vacant stores.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 17 4:51 PM
3 members liked this comment
I am wondering if you own any property yourself, and if you do, how you would feel about being told it's not all yours anymore.
By gusef (39), Southampton on Jul 26, 17 7:00 PM
Non-business owners have dictated what happened in HB for over a decade and look at what has happened. How many of those people actually shop and support the businesses? The Town/Village Government should be helping and working with the small business owners and not listening to their voting block of anti-business residents. They hurt the communities in the long run...but most of the elected officials don't seem to care since they are not in it for the long run.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 2:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Village and County really need to look into expanding the wet uses of properties. Villages with expansive dining options are thriving, (while also promoting competition; which equals lower pricing) while retail is a dying world. Unfortunately, the cost of a sewer district in Southampton Village is going to be a huge deterrent to many residents/voters. The local governments should really applaud those property owners who are willing to upgrade and update their systems. Won't be too charming with ...more
By Mouthampton (419), Southampton on Jul 27, 17 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
I'm against this move as it's almost like rezoning or a change of use.
Removing the court yard changes the character and feeling of the area.
What next, a big box store on Main Street?
By jediscuba (65), Suthampton on Jul 27, 17 1:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
I suspect tat the zoning will not allow for a big box store, but if you are so against why don't you and your friends pool your money and buy the property.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 2:00 PM
Make sure to display plenty of mylar balloons for the grand-opening.
By deepchanel (79), Southampton on Jul 31, 17 10:03 AM
Nothing was mentioned about the apartments on the second stories. They will at least double the septic usage. This will not be used for storage.
The terrible red brick was never repaired. All facilities must be on property, NO VARIANCES...
By knitter (1720), Southampton on Jul 31, 17 8:09 PM
If your goal is to see more for rent signs on Jobs La than this is the perfect plan for you.
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Aug 2, 17 7:30 AM