The property at 378 Montauk Highway in Wainscott has been left to the elements for years now, ever since the last tenant, the Star Room nightclub, closed in 2008. Proposals to turn the property into a car wash over the years have come to nothing, as East Hampton fretted about the environmental costs.
Now the plan is for East Hampton to spend $1.8 million of Community Preservation Funds money, along with $300,000 raised by the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation, to buy the 1.1 acre lot and turn it into a park. The only issue is that the property is in foreclosure and has a $2.5 million lien on it. It’s possible that the bank that owns the property would reject the $2.1 million bid (although we would tend to doubt it, as no one else seems interested in buying it).
Our concern (and granted, we don’t live in Wainscott or anywhere near it) is that the property is part of the Wainscott business district. If a car wash is not appropriate for the site (it is part of the Georgica Pond watershed), why can’t another business use for it be found? There’s very little developable space for commercial use as it is in Wainscott. We think the land would be better used as a business, generating taxes and offering employment. But most people seem to disagree, so we’re putting it up to an oh-so-scientific Internet poll.