The Real Deal New York

Chunk of Montauk fishing docks now for sale

By Candace Taylor | July 13, 2011 05:07PM

A long-untouched swath of the Montauk fishing docks — one of the last remnants of the village’s sleepy past — is on the market for the first time in decades.

The half-acre waterfront site of Lenny’s on the Dock restaurant is now for sale, priced at $4.7 million. Julia Stavola of Town & Country Real Estate has the listing, which includes the 2,400-square-foot commercial building and 11 boat slips.

The property joins its next-door neighbor, Salivars Restaurant and Bar, on the market. The 3,649-square-foot Salivars building, listed for $3.95 million with Town & Country’s Stacey Barnds, has been on the market for about a year, but the availability of Lenny’s paves the way for broader changes in the area, opening up “a whole set of new opportunities” for buyers, said Judi Desiderio, the CEO of Town & Country Real Estate.

It’s rare for properties on the harbor to come up for sale, let alone two adjacent lots at the same time, Desiderio said. The last time the Lenny’s site changed hands was in 1990, when current owner John DeLuca bought it from the Tuma family (formerly of the Tuma Real Estate Agency). The Chimpoukchis family has owned Salivars for 54 years, just as the Gosmans have operated nearby Gosman’s Dock since 1950.

Stavola, who was “born and raised” in Montauk, said during her lifetime, “nothing’s changed down there.”

A potential buyer, however, could purchase both lots and turn the site into a nightclub, a yacht club, a new restaurant, or some combination of the three.

“It is a rare opportunity,” Stavola said. Lenny’s lease is almost up, she said, so “the new owner would have options.”

On the far Eastern tip of Long Island, Montauk until recently was a quiet fishing village far removed from the glitz and glamour of the nearby Hamptons. But in recent years, a bevy of new restaurants and hotels have appeared in the area, bringing with them a moneyed clientele (sometimes to the chagrin of longtime residents). Several years ago, noted chef Sam Talbot opened the popular Surf Lodge, a hotel, restaurant and bar, while famous New York City hotelier Sean MacPherson recently purchased Montauk institution the Crow’s Nest.

In response to these changes, prices for commercial properties in Montauk have spiked, prompting even more properties to go on the market.  

But until now, the Montauk fishing docks have remained largely unchanged. Local boats unload their catch there daily, and Salivars has long been known as a hangout for local fishermen. Lenny’s opened about five years ago, after DeLuca closed Johnny Marlin’s, the restaurant he’d operated at the site for a decade.

DeLuca now wants to retire, Stavola said. As for Salivars, original owner Peter Chimpoukchis died four years ago, and his son-in-law has said it’s time to give up the business.

Desiderio said she foresees a Manhattan-based investor snapping up the Salivars and Lenny’s sites, just as other Montauk locations have recently changed hands.

One obstacle to a sale, however, is that it’s difficult to price properties on the harbor, since they trade so rarely. The Salivars site, for example, was priced at $7 million when it first hit the market a year ago.

“No one knows what the properties are worth in the area, because nothing has sold,” Stavola said.

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