Later this month, one of the rarest of events to take place in the Hamptons is slated to unfold on the steps of Southampton Town Hall: the public auction of a foreclosed home—in Sagaponack.
With the hamlet being the reigning placeholder of “America’s Most Expensive Small Town,” foreclosures in the place where property values went up nearly 20 percent and construction chugged along amid the throes of the “Great Recession” are a real estate white whale. If so, perhaps the towering mansion at 219 Sagg Main Street should be named Moby Dick.
The estate—3 acres, pool, tennis, 15,000 square feet of basically new construction, seven bedrooms, eight and a half baths—is slated to go on the auction block on August 27 and sold to the highest bidder, preferably for more than the $7.8 million the Bank of Smithtown says it is owed by the estate’s current owner, Benjamin Ringel.
It is only the second time there has been a foreclosure in Sagaponack since the village was formed in 2005, according to Village Clerk Rosemarie Winchell.
The estate was completed in 2009, built by Sagaponack developer Michael Davis on custom order by Mr. Ringel, a real estate property developer whose company, Armstrong Capital, refurbishes and manages commercial properties. Mr. Davis’s firm declined to discuss the project, but a company employee said the house construction was paid for by Mr. Ringel outright, without a mortgage.
Southampton Town has appraised the value of the estate at just more than $11 million, and real estate experts say that price is likely a realistic value for the property—a potential profit windfall if the auction price is low enough.
“If it is [completed], I would think it’s honestly worth $11 million, maybe $12 million, yes,” said Paul Brennan, a real estate broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman and a Sagaponack resident.
Mr. Ringel could not be reached for comment, and an attorney for the Bank of Smithtown did not return calls seeking comment on the circumstances of the foreclosure. But Ms. Winchell said that it appears Mr. Ringel is trying to head off the foreclosure auction. She said Mr. Ringel was behind on his village property taxes by at least two years but paid them in person at Sagaponack Village Hall on July 16. According to town tax records, his annual taxes in 2011 were $23,231.
“He’s been in here bringing his taxes up to date and closing out his [certificates of occupancy],” Ms. Winchell said. “I’m sure he’s desperately trying to hold on to it.”
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