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Nov 3, 2010 11:50 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Canoe Place Inn Developers Terminate Lease With Nightclub Owners

Nov 3, 2010 11:50 AM

The developers who own the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays have boarded up the Montauk Highway building after terminating their lease with the owner of a nightclub that had been operating on the property since the spring.

According to Gregg Rechler, who runs the Melville development company R Squared LLC with his cousin Mitchell Rechler, electricity and water were turned off to the 88-year-old structure late last week. Company representatives also boarded up all windows on the building, which some hamlet residents are still trying to preserve even though it is not a protected landmark, and posted no trespassing signs around the property.

“We’re preparing to demolish the building,” Mr. Rechler said on Monday morning. “Once I terminated the lease with the tenant, [it was boarded up] for safety reasons.”

Daniel Grant, who was leasing the property from the Rechlers, opened the Coliseum nightclub in late April. He said on Tuesday evening that his lease was supposed to run for the next two years, but he was recently informed that the agreement would be cut short.

“We only did a few parties,” said Mr. Grant, noting that he held his first party at the club over the July 4th weekend.

He explained that, before he could open, he had to invest $18,000 in a fire suppression system and fix a number of different leaks. He said he was in the process of renewing his liquor license when the Rechlers prematurely terminated his lease.

“I put a lot of money into the place,” Mr. Grant said. “I was hoping to get that back.”

He added that when he first took over the lease from the previous tenants, the owners of The White House nightclub, he had fire marshals inspect the entire building, including its upper floors. According to Mr. Grant, some previous owners had used the top three floors of the Canoe Place Inn as a “dumping ground,” and before he could open his club, he had to hire someone to remove piles of old clothes, magazines and appliances. He said there was enough debris left behind to fill 10 Dumpsters.

“I only used the lower level,” said Mr. Grant, adding that squatters continued to break into the building even after he opened his club and secured some of the windows. “I’d come back the next day and the boards would be gone,” he said.

As of now, the building is being readied for demolition, according to the Rechlers. R Squared LLC submitted its demolition permit application to Southampton Town on October 1, and the review process is expected to take several months, according to Clare Vail, the town planner assigned to the Canoe Place Inn property.

At a Southampton Town Planning Board meeting on October 14, the matter was referred to Southampton Town’s Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, asking members to determine whether or not the building could be considered for adaptive reuse. The group’s findings will be passed on to the Planning Board and could be discussed again later this month.

Last month, the Rechlers and several town officials, including Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, met in private to discuss the fate of the structure. Under the latest proposal made by the developers, the Rechlers said they would be willing to renovate both the interior and exterior of the building, transforming it into a catering hall, in exchange for securing permission from the town to build 40 condominiums on other properties that they own on the east side of Shinnecock Canal. In order to build the condominiums, the developers would have to secure a specialized change of zone from the Southampton Town Board, known as a planned development district, that would permit their construction.

Mr. Rechler said Monday that he has not heard from town officials or the supervisor since their meeting last month. Ms. Throne-Holst did not return calls seeking comment this week.

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Tear it down-end of an era.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 1, 10 12:57 PM
Told you the Fire Marshall was there last week
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Nov 1, 10 1:12 PM
I still say if this were any place else in the Hamptons, people would respect the history of the building and try to get it preserved. Sad.
By baywoman (165), southampton on Nov 1, 10 1:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
They ARE trying to get it preserved. If you feel this structure is important make your views known to the Town Board.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 1, 10 3:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Speaking of catering halls. How well is the one in SHV at the former john ducks doing. I drive by there regularly and have never seen any major events going on. Is there a need for another catering hall? Conference hall? Besides the club on canal road is also available for private affairs. And what is the town going to do with the other spaces it owns. The former CPI (Conscience Point Inn) still sits there all boarded up. Why not develop that? Could be a great catering hall too.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Nov 1, 10 3:06 PM
Surely you understand the difference between a catering hall and a restaurant?

As for the Conscience Point Inn, I didn't think the Town could operate a catering hall. How was that building purchased? You are right, they should be doing something with it.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 1, 10 3:44 PM
I believe Conscience Point was purchased at least in part with Community Preservation Funds. You would need to check the language in the resolution authorizing the purchase to see what would or would not be allowed. There should also be a management plan for the property as that is required of all parcels purchased via CPF, but I am not sure if one has been completed for Conscience Point at this date.
By nsea93 (39), Southampton on Nov 1, 10 9:14 PM
My understanding is that if it is purchased with CPF funds they can not run it as a business.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 10 7:05 AM
Tear it down! A catering hall will be as empty as the Southampton campus will be shortly.
By Crankie (10), Southampton on Nov 1, 10 3:28 PM
No electricity means no alarm system. No water means no sprinkler system. Sounds like the brothers are erring on the side of "oh well".
By VOS (1241), WHB on Nov 1, 10 5:08 PM
It seems like they are sure the PDD for the East side of the canal isn't happening, otherwise they wouldn't risk loosing the building to fire. I now believe the Reichlers want the building gone.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 10 8:14 PM
It will be a real shame if they waste money restoring a useless building (I agree, who needs another catering hall??) in exchange for permission to tear down a useFULL building like Tide Runners where an average citizen can go and enjoy a drink or meal on the waterfront without owning a condominium, a million dollar house or attend an overpriced event.
By eagleeye (82), Sag Harbor on Nov 1, 10 9:19 PM
Another catering hall? Where is a catering hall locally?

Sorry I don't have the same high opinion of the Tide Runners and of course it is only open 2 months a year.

Don't forget, one way or the other Tide Runners is history.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 1, 10 10:02 PM
Why is Tiderunners history? I haven't heard or read anything about that until now?
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Nov 2, 10 2:38 AM
The Rechlers own the property where Tiderunners is. They have the right to build, there is no "exchange for permission". The question is whether they preserve the Inn and build condos on the east side. Or they tear down on both sides and rebuild on both properties, and the piece they own on the other side of north rd.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 10 7:08 AM
Tiderunners is open from April until the end of September. Its a great place to just sit relax and watch the boats go by .
By longislander40 (37), hampton bays on Nov 8, 10 11:47 PM
Let's hope not.
By longislander40 (37), hampton bays on Nov 8, 10 11:48 PM
Let's hope not what?

The Rechlers will be demolishing what is on their property on the east side of town and rebuilding. This isn't a possibility, it is a fact.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 10 6:09 PM
The Rechlers own the property and have said that they will be taking down the buildings and rebuilding. Whether it is condos or building as of right, there will be all new construction on that property.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 10 7:03 AM
They are taking down Tiderunners too? It seems like it would be an odd decision to do that without the PDD, as it is RWB which limits there as of right choices unless they are granted a special exception.
They should be made to use their lot across North Road for accessory parking for Tiderunners, the cars are out of control there in the summer. A simple no parking zone would prompt that.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Nov 2, 10 11:28 AM
The plan is to build on both sides of the canal, on all three parcels of land. Whether they do that with a PDD or as of right, they have stated that the buildings will be taken down on the east side.

I don't see how the town can tell them that instead of building on a buildable lot they have to make a parking lot.

As of now nothing is being torn down until the town makes their decision.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 10 3:15 PM
As I understand it, You cannot clear or otherwise improve or develop a parcel that is undergoing site plan approval. Once they complete this process they still need to get a permit from the Building Department. If you have ever dealt with them you know how difficult that could be.
By graibierd (6), Southampton on Nov 2, 10 1:43 PM
Just like everything else in the town, all historic landmarks will vanish because there is no $$$$ any place to save these places and items we call history....So Sad.....
By 1640sWhaler (74), Sag Harbor/Easthampton on Nov 2, 10 4:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
In this case the owner/developers are willing to restore the building. But, they want to be able to build more than as of right on their other piece of property on the east side.

Sad, someone finally listens to the pleas to save our landmarks, and the community changes their minds.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 10 6:44 PM
CPI is a fire trap and a place for the illegals to sleep. there are plenty of historic sites that are in better condition. Hope they tear down the CPI, the dump next door and the old house on the other side of the road. Lets clean up Hampton Bays before next summer.
By longislander40 (37), hampton bays on Nov 8, 10 11:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
Which site in HB are you referring to?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 10 6:34 PM
Perhaps they did not want a shooting like what just happened at the other club across the canal.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Nov 3, 10 12:49 PM
Wasn't the Rechler's original plan to build a time-share complex on the Canoe Place Inn site and as many condos as they will be allowed on the east side of the canal? Does anyone know if this is still what they intend to build?
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 10 10:13 PM
Yes that was the original plan but they have long since abandoned that idea. They would like to build Town Houses on their property on the east side of the canal. They would also restore the Inn both inside and out to be used as a catering hall. There would be caveats in place that would guarantee the work would be done on the Inn and it could not have a change of useage to anything other than a catering hall, etc.

If they are not allowed to build the condos on the east, they will build ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 10 6:32 PM
"Under the latest proposal made by the developers, the Rechlers said they would be willing to renovate both the interior and exterior of the building, transforming it into a catering hall, in exchange for securing permission from the town to build 40 condominiums on other properties that they own on the east side of Shinnecock Canal. "

This is from the above article.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 10 6:33 PM
If the article is correct, the Rechlers now intend to demolish the structure. They evicted the renters, cut utilities and boarded it up. I don't believe they would not have cut off water (fire sprinkler system), electricity (alarms & heat) or evicted the renters if the building was of any value at all to them. I wish it weren't true, but feel this is the sad reality.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 16, 10 6:30 AM
Yes, let's clean up HB so it looks nice to tourists as they drive through on their way somewhere else. Good idea!
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 10 7:10 AM
2 members liked this comment
HB is being taken over by big business. We miss the small town Baymen's haven it once was.
By joan s (53), hampton bays on Nov 16, 10 3:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh for the good old days when i managed the CPI starting in 1984. For three months each summer, the CPI was the most amazing place to enjoy a night out. Not only the main dance hall with the best DJ's (DJ Little) and top name shows,but the outside Jazz patio, the VIP Champagne Piano lounge, the great outdoor food court, amazing game room, and on and on. RIP Canoe Place Inn.
By paul orofino (1), miami beach on Apr 13, 13 10:53 AM