WELCOME GUEST  |  LOG IN
clubhouse, east hampton, indoor, tennis, cornhole, bar, happy hour, bowling, mini golf
27east.com

Story - News

Feb 15, 2019 4:30 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Property Owner Acts To Evict The Spur From Planned Hampton Road Location, Claiming Contract Breaches

Bruce Lewin, the owner of the property at 630 Hampton Road.      DANA SHAW
Feb 20, 2019 9:41 AM

The owner of 630 Hampton Road in Southampton Village, where the Spur is in the midst of building its flagship location, said he is planning to file a lawsuit against the Spur this week due to what he said amounted to breaches of the lease—claims that the Spur’s founder, Ashley John Heather, is adamantly refuting.

Bruce Lewin, an entrepreneur who has a house in Southampton Village, bought the property last May for $4.5 million. It was purchased as part of an agreement with the Spur, a private club that offers shared workspace for local entrepreneurs, and Mr. Lewin immediately leased it to the business.

Mr. Lewin’s attorney, Peter Guirguis of Mintz & Gold LLP in Manhattan, sent a letter and a surrender agreement on February 13 to Mr. Heather’s attorneys. Mr. Heather is represented by Kevin Mulry and Alon Kapen of Farrell Fritz, P.C. in Uniondale.

The letter was sent the day after the Spur announced its new East Hampton location at the venue space at 44 Three Mile Harbor Road, which is slated to be ready to open by mid-March.

The letter stated that Mr. Heather broke the lease by failing to pay applicable property taxes, or providing proof that he did, failing to maintain a safe property and breaching a construction note—a $1 million loan Mr. Lewin provided for construction expenses.

The failure to maintain safe property relates to there no longer being any protective construction fencing around the property. The contractor originally hired to renovate the building, Frank DeVito of DeVito and Company, removed the original fencing after he said his company withdrew from the project last month.

While Mr. DeVito said he withdrew, Mr. Heather contends that he fired Mr. DeVito’s company in December. Both have said they plan to file lawsuits against each other because of the dispute.

The letter sent by Mr. Lewin demanded that Mr. Heather sign a surrender agreement—meaning that the 25-year lease would be voided and the Spur would be required to immediately vacate the premises—and release a $90,000 security deposit held in escrow by Friday, February 15, or Mr. Lewin would file a lawsuit.

In a response letter sent Friday, Mr. Heather’s attorney, Mr. Mulry, rebutted the alleged breaches.

His letter stated that there were no circumstances presented in Mr. Lewin’s letter that would warrant surrendering from the property and releasing the security deposit. It also stated that Mr. Heather paid any outstanding taxes to Southampton Town and that issues raised by Southampton Village Building Inspector Chris Talbot had all been addressed. Mr. Heather finds it unnecessary to fence the premises.

The town confirmed that all taxes on the property have been paid. However, the possibility remains that Mr. Lewin simply did not receive proof of paid taxes, as stated in one of his claims.

Rent for the Hampton Road property has been paid via monthly escrow payments, so lack of payments was never an issue. The escrow account was set up for nine months and made payments from last June to this month, Mr. Lewin said.

The Spur was awarded a $500,000 state grant in December for the construction of the new location, but the business has yet to see that money. The funds would be administered as a reimbursement after the Spur matches the amount and enters a contract with the Empire State Development Agency, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. confirmed.

Mr. Lewin’s letter additionally stated that he would install a fence around the property this week and seek reimbursement of the $1 million loan, among other damages, regardless of the surrender agreement.

Mr. Lewin said he remains unconvinced that the $1 million loan he made to Mr. Heather was used for construction expenses, as intended. Mr. Heather refuted the charge. “Every penny of the loan has gone toward the 630 Hampton Road project,” he said. “The existing Spur location is profitable and has been since July 2018.”

Mr. Lewin remained firm this week in his desire to end the relationship.

“There’s only one way to resolve it. He’s got to give me my money,” Mr. Lewin said. “I’m going to evict him. He’s in breach of his lease. We will get the property back and we will get the $90,000 back and I’m not even worried about it.”

Regardless of Mr. Lewin’s actions, Mr. Heather said he remains confident in his vision for the Spur on the East End and understands that startups like this can sometimes face challenges along the way.

“We know that The Spur’s use for the 630 Hampton Road property is the very best use of that building and site for [Southampton]. Good for the village, good for entrepreneurs and attract young people to the area,” Mr. Heather said in a text. “We are working hard to make sure we meet our financial responsibilities with respect to 630 Hampton Road and making it a win-win relationship.”

His wife, and managing partner of the Spur, Diana Heather, agreed. “Either way, I think we were able to open the East Hampton location, so we have plans for figuring this out one way or another. It’s going to happen. It already has happened.”

The local demand for a concept like the Spur is visible. The existing Southampton Village space at the “Red Barn” on 280 Elm Street reached the goal of having 150 members, Mr. Heather said. And 50 members are waiting for the new East Hampton location, dubbed “Spur East,” to open, he added. That expansion was meant to provide a closer geographic option to members living farther east.

Active members shared positive feedback on the Spur’s services. Mirella Cameran-Reilly, a contributing editor for numerous magazines, has been a Spur member since she and her family moved to East Quogue last August. She said she has enjoyed going to the Spur two to three times per week and has even brought her three children to the Spur’s youth events.

“I think that it’s an opportunity to try and help people who want to live out here full time, who want to create an economy out here that works, want to develop the economy out here and make it possible for families to live out here year-round, with both parents working,” Ms. Cameran-Reilly said.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Oh boy.

By Draggerman (875), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 6:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
Fred— you’d better look into where the 500K (if actually paid out) went. The east Hampton landlord must be shaking in his boots. Would be interesting to learn how much $$$ Heather and Spur “principals” put up. Seems like a full time OPM enterprise.
By 67CRANE (2), southampton on Feb 15, 19 7:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
Why did Fred Thiele recommend a One million dollar state grant to this "start up business" and in comparison only 30 K to Southampton Arts Center?...I love fish, but not the smell....
By V.Tomanoku (694), southampton on Feb 15, 19 7:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm betting "The Spur" is toast. I hope Mr. Lewin is made whole and the the landlord in EH has an exit plan.
By Arnold Timer (314), Sag Harbor on Feb 16, 19 1:19 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SlimeAlive (1137), Southampton on Feb 16, 19 2:27 AM
So Frank Devito is suing for his money and Buddy Wines is next on deck. Be careful, Buddy.
By Draggerman (875), Southampton on Feb 16, 19 7:31 AM
The first contractor starting without a permit? Not very smart
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Feb 16, 19 7:42 AM
And you know that for a fact ?
Check with the building department. There are permits for the work done.
By DOM1 (1), SOUTHAMPTON on Feb 16, 19 8:16 AM
If you weren’t suspicious of these lunatics from day one, you weren’t paying attention.
By SlimeAlive (1137), Southampton on Feb 16, 19 8:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
We did obtain the building permits for the original work done, codes were followed, and at no time any boards were bypassed. Hopefully this mess will be cleanup and Mr Lewin can move forward on his property.
By DEVITO (2), Southampton on Feb 16, 19 8:44 AM
Sure a giant rendering of a basically new building with a restaurant in it, and no approved health dept and no site plan approval? Framing new rooms and a new front and no ARB approval? Hmmm somethings fishy changing the structure of a building with no site plan? A million names written all over a banner surrounding the property which isnt permissible. Sounds like someone tried a fast one on the village, and got caught. Not to mention it is a change of use from a Auto dealership to an office use.
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Feb 16, 19 11:41 AM
Chief, see Frank Devito’s comment above. Frank is a straight shooter.
By Draggerman (875), Southampton on Feb 17, 19 8:05 AM
. . . a spurious project . . . ?

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle !!!
By Nero (275), Sag Harbor on Feb 16, 19 1:03 PM
and no one saw this coming???
By xtiego (688), bridgehampton on Feb 16, 19 6:05 PM
Draggerman I drive by that place everyday. Did he have ARB approval? Did he have health dept approval? Did he have planning board Approval? I heard he had permission for repairs he nearly had the whole place gutted. I don't get it. Maybe he can tell what approvals he had. Why the giant fence? Plus guys working with no hard hats or safety gear the whole thing was a little strange
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Feb 17, 19 12:02 PM
Hey Chief, I also have to drive by the old dealership everyday. Could now wait for anyone to do something with it. I was very excited when this great concept came up and to focus on this property was very good for the community as well as the business.
Lets get down to the facts here. The place was a complete mess, parts of the building were condemned by the Village. I started cleanout the day of closing. I had obtained Building Permits for the list of previous violations, repairs and demo. ...more
By DEVITO (2), Southampton on Feb 17, 19 5:38 PM
4 members liked this comment
Frank, pay no attention to Chief1. He’s quite negative. You’re a straight shooter and a good builder. You do enough work in the village, you wouldn’t risk your reputation on one project.
By Draggerman (875), Southampton on Feb 18, 19 12:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
I remember seeing a sign go up saying opening April 2019. How would you get health dept and planning board and build a site like this in six months? You were also putting differant fascia up on the building then the original and closing some openings which require ARB approval. You do need hard hats when you are doing demolition and putting on a roof. You need hard hats when you are dropping chunks of debris in an area occupied by workers.
Seems a little crazy to repair a roof and not put ...more
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Feb 17, 19 6:49 PM
devito has always been a reputable contractor and has pulled out if this job for good reason. foil the village offices and get the real story
By xtiego (688), bridgehampton on Feb 17, 19 7:00 PM
2 members liked this comment
The pitfalls of absolutes like that are well documented and often taught in 3rd grade.

I would venture a guess that we are watching the winter karma olympics. Everyone loses and rightly so. Karmas a “beach”.
By SlimeAlive (1137), Southampton on Feb 19, 19 4:33 AM
Hmm.. A Quick-E-Mart with a kinkos. Sounds like the owner made the right decision! Turn the place in to an 8-bay self service car wash - it already looks like one and Southampton residents need a place to buy those pine tree air fresheners!
By DisgustedHamptons (55), Hampton Bays on Feb 18, 19 3:28 AM
DEVITO Just wondering if you are the contractor how were going to be operational April 1st 2019?
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Feb 19, 19 3:38 PM