The Real Deal New York

Compass, BHS offices destroyed in Sag Harbor blaze

Pre-dawn fire caused roof to collapse at historic movie theater
By E.B. Solomont | December 16, 2016 01:12PM

Gloomy day in my favorite little place & second home, Sag Harbor. So sad to see this beautiful icon destroyed.

A photo posted by Kate Sherwood (@katemariex93) on

UPDATED: Dec. 16, 1:50 p.m.: Compass and Brown Harris Stevens’ offices in Sag Harbor were destroyed in a massive fire that tore through Main Street early Friday morning.

Compass’ office at 84 Main Street and Brown Harris Stevens’ office at 96 Main were overwhelmed by the blaze, which started around 6:14 a.m. near the Sag Harbor Cinema and spread to at least four storefronts, according to fire officials.

Shortly after 9 a.m., firefighters battling frigid temperatures, thick plumes of black smoke and blistering wind confirmed that the roof of the cinema had collapsed. Earlier, locals reported seeing 20-foot flames shoot into the air. As of midday, it was unclear where and how the fire had started. But a state arson investigation team was being sent to the scene, according to reports.

Compass’ office was “so compromised” that firefighters couldn’t enter and were planning to throw water onto the premises from outside the building. “We’re planning to [do] a surround and drown,” Sag Harbor fire officials said, according to Patch.

Michael Wright video of the fire this morning at or near Sag Harbor Cinema. #27east #shpress #sagharbor

A video posted by Joseph Shaw (@joeshawpress) on

Damage from the fire was “catastrophic,” Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Austin McGuire told the East Hampton Star.

“We are saddened by the fire on Main Street,” BHS said in a statement. “Although our office has been severely damaged, our agents and staff are safe. We have already identified a new space in Sag Harbor and we will remain an involved member of this community as it rebuilds.”

Representatives for Compass could not immediately be reached for comment.

Officials said a village police officer first spotted the fire on the second-story deck of Compass’ office. The officer was able to help a resident living in an apartment above the office evacuate around 6:30 a.m., before the building was engulfed in flames.

Property records show 84 Main is owned by James McGinniss, while 96 Main is owned by the East End Land Corp.

Earlier this year, the owner of the cinema, Gerald Mallow, put the 1930s theater on the market for $14 million.

Although BHS has been a mainstay in Sag Harbor, Compass, which was valued at over $1 billion after a fundraising round in August,  is a more recent entrant, having opened an office about a year ago after absorbing Strough Real Estate Brokerage.  But the firm’s quest to corner the Hamptons market — characterized by agent poaching and marked by conflicts with other firms — has not been smooth.

The Sag Harbor office is run by John Gicking, a former Wall Street executive who previously ran Sotheby’s East Hampton office. Previously, Compass’ Hamptons operations were headed by Ed Reale, who left the brokerage for Sotheby’s International Realty.