The Menhaden, a stylish independent luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Greenport Village that opened nearly three years ago, has been scooped up by buyers who clearly see the North Fork’s potential.
Atlantic Equity Partners, a New England-based boutique real estate private equity firm, purchased the 16-room hotel at 207 Front Street in April from Dan and Kristen Pennessi of Tellus Capital LLC.
“We weren’t really looking to sell, and it was just a good deal that came along at the right time for us. It was pretty bittersweet for Kristen and I,” said Dan Pennessi by phone. “We truly enjoyed building it from the ground up and operating it with this great team but at that price, it was a good deal, and I think it’s a testament to the quality of the service and the product and also to the North Fork.”
According to deed transfers AE Menhaden LLC bought The Menhaden from LykonVani GP LLC for $8.25 million on April 21. The deal was valued at nearly $550,000 per key, Pennessi said.
The couple built the property from the ground up with a rooftop bar and deck and an on-site restaurant, all using local trades, including Glenn Heidtmann of Heidtmann & Sons, a longtime North Fork-based business, who built the hotel in just under a year. Kristen Pennessi was the force behind the interior and exterior nautical-inspired décor. A soft opening was held in late 2018. Their “crowning achievement” was operating it year-round, Pennessi said.
“The property and brand were designed to exude contemporary coastal: well-appointed and chic with minimal décor, an exterior that effortlessly fits into this historic village, timeless,” he added. “The guest response has been amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed building and operating this amazing asset.”
In fact, one of the principals in the private equity firm that bought it had been a guest at the hotel a couple of times.
Jonathan Hoenig, a managing partner with Atlantic Equity, said The Menhaden has been performing strong even during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, Hoenig said he wanted to invest in “one of the last up-and-coming leisure markets in New York and the Northeast,” an exciting prospect “especially considering the anticipated renaissance of the leisure market in this area over the next decade and the growing demand.”
“The market—said to be the ‘New Hamptons’—is on fire,” Hoenig continued. “Already under their leadership we are seeing record-setting average daily rates. The former owners did an outstanding job developing this property and brand which we look forward to building upon in the years to come.”
Atlantic Equity Partners announced recently that Meyer Jabara Hotels (MJH), an award-winning Danbury, Connecticut-based hospitality company that owns, operates or leases hotels and restaurants in 11 states, is now managing The Menhaden.
“The Menhaden is a spectacular property and an irreplaceable asset,” Hoenig said. “Meyer Jabara brings generations of management experience and a broad knowledge of markets throughout the U.S. that we intend to invest in. Every member of their team is hands-on, accessible and thorough from property-level manager to upper-level management and ownership. They offer a wide range of management experience from 16-room boutiques to 400-plus-room full-service hotels. This gives us the ability to know we can work with the same partner across a diverse group of investments.”
“This property is charming and timeless with many high-end appointments, including a minimalist black/white/greige color palette, guest room furnishings by Restoration Hardware, a copy of Moby Dick at each bedside,” said Justin Jabara, the president of Meyer Jabara Hotels, in the statement.
Other amenities, he said, include “a complimentary commissary on each floor, a provisioning shop offering everything needed for a beach picnic or boat trip, a British open-air electric Moke jeep to transport guests to nearby wineries and more, and the only rooftop bar in Greenport offering stunning views of the sunset and overlooking Main Street, Greenport Harbor, the North Ferry and Shelter Island.”
The Pennessis, who live in Westchester, are not going far. They are part owners of Croteaux Vineyards in Southold and, after selling their bungalow in West Hampton Dunes, are buying a second home in nearby Orient.
“It was a tough decision to actually sell. We were so fond of Greenport and continue to be fond of it and this property,” he said. “The North Fork has been discovered, or rediscovered, and it’s just got room to grow in our opinion. It’s just a fantastic part of the world and the tri-state area.”