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Southampton Town to seek bids for demolition of Brewster House

The Southampton Town Board voted unanimously last Tuesday to seek bids to demolish the former Brewster House. 

The four-story building on Flanders Road, which is said to be more than 138 years old, had been badly damaged in a fire in 1987, leaving a hole in the roof, which in turn, let water seep into the building. 

Since then, the building’s condition has only gotten worse. 

“It’s beyond the point of saving it,” Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said in an interview. “The sooner we take it down, the better.” 

The town acquired the property for $400,000 in June and will be responsible for removal of the demolition debris, and for the removal of any asbestos found on site, officials said.

The purchase was funded by Community Preservation Fund money. The CPF uses a voter approved 2% transfer tax to generate money for environmental projects and land preservation. 

Voters in a 2016 referendum allowed up to 20% of the CPF revenue to be used for water quality initiatives. The Brewster House purchase was made under that category, according to Mr. Schneiderman. 

Efforts to revive the Brewster House, which is located near Flanders Bay, have fallen short in recent years.

In 2016, a group called Restoration Equity unveiled an $8 million plan to renovate the building into a hotel, restaurant and pool. 

Two years later, they sold the building.

Jamie Minnick of Restoration Equity said in an interview in 2018 that he dropped plans to restore the building because of opposition from neighbors. 

The property was sold in 2018 for $285,000to a company called SSG RE Holders LLC, of Wilmington, NC, which said at the time that it sought to sell the property, rather than to develop it. SSG sold then the property to Southampton Town.

SSG RE Holders LLC sold the property to the town, which has no immediate plans for it other than as a park.

The 28-room building was originally owned by Captain Robert Penney in 1880 under the name “Grove House.” In the 1920s, it was later run by the Brewster family as a boarding house. 

The demolition bids are due by noon on May 18.