Last week, property transfers revealed that telecom zillionaire/restaurant entrepreneur/serial NYC apartment buyer Michael Hirtenstein paid just $15 million for an unfinished condo home at 2 West Water Street, Sag Harbor, in New York’s Hamptons. The last asking price was $25 million, and the deal was brokered by Bespoke. Of course, Hirtenstein didn’t actually “save” $10 million. The $25 million asking price included a finished apartment (see renderings); Unit C spans more than 11,000 square feet but is currently a shell, and Hirtenstein is going to have the place finished by his own contractors.
Originally a telecom mogul, Hirtenstein is now also known for Catch restaurants, Juice Press, Rumble Boxing, and Wheels Up. And he is well-known to New York property stans. Since selling his startup Westcom Communications for $270 million in 2005, Hirtenstein has been linked to some of New York’s most coveted buildings. In 2005, ge dropped $15.7 million on a sprawling penthouse at the Time Warner Center. On the 76th floor, the three-bedroom aerie boasts one of the city’s highest balconies. Hirtenstein rented the place to Jay-Z for $40,000 a month before flipping it to Broadcast.com billionaire Todd Wagner for $27 million.
In 2006, Hirtenstein purchased 23 Gramercy Park South for $15 million. Townhouses on that storied private park are rare enough, but this one also had a great floor plan. He eventually sold the place to Colombian brewery heir Andres Santo Domingo and his Vogue editor wife, Lauren, for $18.5 million. At One York, a luxe Tribeca condo, Hirtenstein bought a triplex combination for $17.9 million in 2009. That apartment, where he still lives with wife Christina, sports multiple terraces, including one with its own private outdoor pool.
The units in Sag Harbor also have a long and complex history. (They do, however, boast rooftop pools, or will when they’re finished.) 2 West Water Street was known locally for years as the 1-800-LAWYERS building. A former motel, the building was converted into a house by Bruce Davis of 1-800-LAWYERS fame. Davis eventually sold the place to a company called Greystone for $4.9 million, which then planned to develop 11 condos on the land with buildings designed by acclaimed architect Robert AM Stern.
The only problem was that the village of Sag Harbor wanted the land for a park, which would be named after former resident John Steinbeck. In the face of resistance, Greystone sold the parcels to Hamptons high-end developer Jay Bialsky, who downsized the complex from 11 apartments to three. Bialsky also received approval for the tallest variances Sag Harbor had granted in many years; to get them, he sold some adjacent parcels to Southampton Town (of which Sag Harbor is a part) for $10.5 million to create the Steinbeck park.
Of the three condo units, Bialsky planned to keep one for his family and put the other two up for sale. Hirtenstein bought a unit, so there’s now just one remaining up for grabs. Given that Sag Harbor now wants to keep the waterfront low key, it’s very unlikely that anything like these condos will ever be built again there. Each unit fronts a private beach with immediate access to the harbor, and residents can easily walk to everything the charming village has to offer. Right out front is a private dock with individual boat slips for the owners’ yacht or sailboat.
This is not Hirtenstein’s first foray to the Hamptons. In 2013, he purchased an oceanfront home in Montauk for $13 million, selling in 2019 for $18 million. Nearby Sag Harbor has become more and more popular in recent years, with a scorching real estate market. It’s a charming village with good restaurants, quaint shops, picturesque historic houses, and a pretty harbor. And, as alluded above, Sag Harbor is unique among the Hamptons in offering deepwater docks. Anchors aweigh!