The Hampton Town Zoning Board is entertaining a new application from a Ukrainian firm that, if accepted, would result in the preservation of nearly 800 acres of unprotected farmland just north of Bridgehampton. The application is unique. It wants to build just one 5,500-square-foot residential structure on the property. If that is approved, it will offer to preserve into perpetuity all the rest.
“This is not a proposal from some wealthy billionaire who wants privacy,” Zoning Board Chairman Harold Bartlesworth said. “With today’s real estate prices, even a billionaire could not afford to surround himself with 799 preserved acres. But we believe the Ukranian billionaire heading up this company is an environmentalist desiring to save farmland. I think this is an offer we cannot possibly refuse.”
The attorney for the owner, Maximilian Penny of New York City, says that not only will all this land be saved, but the single residential structure would very likely never get lived in by anybody, though he could not guarantee it.
Under current zoning, this farmland can be divided up into 200 separate house lots. In negotiations with the town, a compromise might be reached to build a subdivision leading to 100 gated mega-mansions selling for $5 million each, with private roads, paved driveways and parking areas, tennis courts, swimming pools, pool houses and garages, all on landscaped properties safely tucked behind hedgerows. That would also mean we’d have to have 100 cesspools and leaching pools. It would also mean a loss of beautiful views of adjacent farmland.
Those who have seen the plans say that this project not only saves the farmland, but as lawyer Penny says, it truly might never even be occupied.
The project is to be a single 100-story skyscraper with one hundred 5,500-square-foot apartments, one to a floor, each with views of the Hamptons in all directions. Each apartment will be completely private and secure. Elevators on the ground floor will provide access to them. And a staff of people (jobs for the locals) will handle visitors 24/7 from that entry floor.
According to Penny, these 100 floor-through apartments have already been pre-sold to Russian and Saudi billionaires. The prices range from $150 million to $200 million each.
“We already have deposits,” Penny said. “At this point, there is a waiting list, which is also full. There is no doubt this will be built. This is no pie in the sky.
“Everyone wants to be able to say they own a house in the Hamptons,” he continued. “And everyone wants a safe place to park their money. It might be possible, some day, that some of these people would visit here. But they have properties like this all over the world. So it is doubtful.”
There have been rumors that this project is being backed by the Trump Organization, with Donald Trump himself involved, in spite of his promises to not be engaged with the Trump Organization during his presidency. But this rumor has turned out not to be true.
“Trump does know these people,” said Zoning Board Chairman Bartlesworth. “But not a penny of his money is involved. In fact, he would have received a large annual fee for allowing the Ukrainians to put his name on the top of the building. But we would never allow that. After all, he is already being investigated for being in cahoots with the Russians, or the Ukrainians, or whatever. So that was that.”
Instead, Bartlesworth said, the developers have agreed to build a replica of a 19th-century wooden Dutch windmill atop the building.
“This will be visible from miles away, if you have a telescope. And having that up there will do away with the helicopter pad up there too,” Bartlesworth continued. “We didn’t specifically agree upon that, but you can’t have a wooden windmill near to a helicopter pad. That would cause the windmill arms to turn every time a chopper came in. Also, it’s illegal to land a helicopter anywhere on private property. You have to land them at the East Hampton Airport.
“Anyway, none of this matters. Nobody is coming out here to enjoy these apartments anyway.”