Village Latch Inn, a five-and-a-half-acre property at 101 Hill Street in Southampton, has gone on the market for $24.9 million. The 40-room main inn, designed by architect Sanford White as a Great Gatsby-style estate surrounded by gardens, includes several smaller, private residences as well as a greenhouse, pool and tennis court.
“We’re in a climate where hotels in the area are changing hands,” said Faith Hope Consolo, head of retail at Prudential Douglas Elliman, who is marketing the property with Joseph Aquino, executive vice president of the firm’s retail group. “Nothing is better situated than this hotel, which is like the Fifth Avenue of the East End.”
The Village Latch Inn is the latest in a string of hotels to hit the sales market or change hands in the past eight months. Last June, Long Island developer Adam Manson purchased the historic 12-acre Panoramic Hotel in Montauk. In July, Montauk’s East Deck Motel hit the market for $20 million, and in June, the recently renovated Montauket Hotel, at 88 Firestone Road on Montauk’s Fort Pond, went on sale for $17.5 million.
The Village Latch Inn — which has operated as a hotel since 1901 — has hosted its fair share of dignitaries, including former Vice President Al Gore and current Vice President Joe Biden. Celebrity guests have included Michael J. Fox, Kate Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid.
Guest rooms feature fireplaces, balconies and decks. There are also several smaller, villa-like residences on the property.
“In the past, people were trying to sell the property as residential, and there are a lot of great residences, but we see the potential here as a development site,” Consolo said, noting that she has done building sales on Madison Avenue. “The sellers came to us because we have international clientele and can best represent their interest because of our relationship with developers.”
The inn is ripe for conversion, Consolo and Aquino said.
“If the property is converted, it could be made into one-family homes, or possibly condos that would be 3,000 square feet each, like mini estates,” Aquino said. “We really think that the highest and best use would be for someone to come in and develop it.”
Martin and Marta White, the current owners of the Village Latch Inn, have run the hotel for over three decades. It will continue to operate on a normal schedule until a buyer is found.
“We just think it’s time to sell it to the next person to create what they want,” Marta said.
In late 2009, the property was in contract for $27 million, to be sold to a local entrepreneur, whom Marta declined to name. However, the for-sale-by-owner transaction ultimately fell through and never closed, because “the buyer ran into financial difficulties,” Marta said. After that, a residential team from the Corcoran Group, led by Gary DePersia, took over the marketing and had the exclusive listing for one year.
“I think it’s a wonderful property that has amazing potential and I am sorry not to have sold it while I had it as an exclusive,” DePersia said. “There are some pre-existing, non-conforming aspects of it and a smart buyer could take advantage of that, but it’s going to take some insight and it’s going to take some development work, and not everyone is willing to do that. But for the right buyer it’s going to be a wonderful property.”
As for why the Whites have now chosen Elliman’s Consolo and Aquino to market the property, they felt that the inn “should get solid exposure from the commercial side, and not just the residential side,” Marta explained. “Prudential Douglas Elliman sees the commercial potential and development possibilities in the property and could reach those types of clients who are interested.”
Consolo and Aquino are also hoping that the adjacent Whitefield Condominium — a 30-acre private residence on the National Register of Historic Places that was restored and renovated into 29 single-family condo units — will serve as an inspiration to potential buyers as to what they can do with Village Latch Inn.
“The revitalization and success of the Whitefield Condominium could easily be the model for the Village Latch’s next chapter,” Aquino noted. “Two condominium projects side by side, preserving the architecture and bringing new life to the community would be an example of adaptive re-use in its finest hour.”