Dan Rattiner's Stories

Hampton Island: Offshore Chopper Pad Blossoms into Resort

Yes, it’s true. Those metal construction cranes visible on the horizon way off in the ocean off Bridgehampton are creating an island, a fabulous new resort for the rich and famous originally intended to be a privately owned helicopter pad that would have served as a replacement airport for helicopters landing at East Hampton Airport.

It’s funny how these things happen. Last fall East Hampton announced it would consider banning all helicopters from the airport for the summer of 2015 and beyond because of all the noise they made. Although that never came about, the hours that helicopters can operate has been shortened, and many Hamptonites did not feel comfortable with that and perhaps future restrictions. When you have a helicopter, you want to be able to come and go whenever you want. Otherwise, why have a helicopter?

Plans were drawn up in December 2014. And construction began—the ground was broken, so to speak—at the beginning of May, with far more than just a helicopter pad, its attendant hydroplane ferryboat and boat dock and fishing pier at Sagg Main.

“It was kind of amazing what we began thinking about putting out there once we got the ball rolling,” said hedge fund manager Arlen Babcock. “First, we found that at three miles and one foot out from the shoreline, we were beyond the jurisdiction of the Town and so needed no permits. But we would be regulated by oil-drilling rules. So we applied as an oil-drilling platform, figuring it would be just a cover for our chopper pad—most drilling operations come up dry as you know—but then we sent a test boring down under our proposed location, and guess what? We hit a gusher. It took two days to cap. There is oil everywhere.”

When completed by May of 2016, the island will sit on 2,000 pilings attached to the seafloor and will have not one but four helicopter pads. A plutocrat, a sheik, an oligarch and a drug lord can all chopper in to the island on the same day at the same time, just by following the FAA mandated flight paths over the ocean and having an oil company bumper sticker on both sides. And then they will have a choice. They can hydroplane to shore, where Uber cars can transport them to their homes in the Hamptons. Or they can stay on the island and enjoy island life.

“Our next big break came when we found out nobody had registered the name ‘Hampton Island.’ Imagine that. And then after that we found out that, being outside the town limit, we were free to form our own town. It’s Hampton Island Town.”

Hampton Island, open for the summer of 2016, will have a main street lined with elms, several blocks of stores and restaurants, a guest house with 10 units for visitors, a marina, two discos, a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Music Club with steel drums and a gambling casino. There will also be a beach (facing south along the ocean to catch the surf), a channel called “Pipeline” where giant rolling waves can come in that will make Ditch Plains in Montauk look like a kiddie pool, 10 five-acre properties with 40,000 square-foot mansions on them, and other things.

“We are trying to start negotiations with Donald Trump about having a beauty pageant on Hampton Island on Labor Day weekend 2016. We understand he might have a beauty pageant free. We are also working to team up with one of the New York auction houses for another summer event. For charity, of course.”

Plans are also underway to place an addition onto Hampton Island that will be twice the size of the original island and will include a 7,000’ runway for big corporate jets, 30 waterfront home sites with a runway view in front and the sea and some private beach in back.

“The approvals for this addition take time,” Babcock said. “We’re dealing with the FAA. They want the TSA in there and everything has to be just so. No firearms, for example. And they want a customs office. Go figure.

“We are also planning to build a smaller, crappier island for the help nearby to Hampton Island. It will have a school, a power station and slow, smelly diesel-powered wooden boats to bring the help to Hampton Island for when they are needed, for weddings and things. All will be behind hedgerows. That should be open in the spring of 2017.”

Watch this space for upcoming news of Hampton Island.

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