Developers are proposing a senior housing residential development at the former Ocean View Farm in Amagansett that they say is cutting edge.
Known simply as "555," for its address on Montauk Highway, the complex would be the first fair market value development for seniors in the Town of East Hampton, while also being the first environmentally sustainable age-restricted adult active community in the entire state.
Putnam Bridge, a firm based in Greenwich, Conn., purchased the 23.5-acre property in May of 2012 for $10 million, according to public records.
Francis P. Jenkins III, a partner at Putnam Bridge and the project manager, said the 89 units would sell for between $800,000 to $1.8 million.
Putnam Bridge is working with Cooper, Robertson & Partners, whose founder Jacquelin T. Robertson lives in East Hampton. Planning has taken nearly one year, and they filed a preliminary site plan application with the town three weeks ago. They presented the project to the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday night.
555 would offer independent living for those 55 and older in cottages and apartments. They are proposing 63 cedar shingled cottages and 26 apartments, broken up into "neighborhoods" organized around three park-like "greens" that are connected by a walkway. Ten percent of the units have to be affordable under New York State law, Jenkins said.
There are six different types of cottages proposed, from just over 1,500 square feet to nearly 2,000 square feet. The apartments are about 1,200 square feet.
An approximately 4,000-square-foot field house that would serve three meals per day, a 12,000-square-foot pool and fitness facility with exercise rooms, massage room and beauty salon are also proposed. There will also be a garden with a small pond, flagpole and even a windmill.
555 would not be a gated community, and the grounds would be open to the public, Jenkins said. The amenities would likely be open to the public during the off-season, he added.
Jenkins said a strong community has economic, social and age diversities. "A project like this allows them to stay in a town that they've helped shape for however many decades," he said.
Developers believe there is a documented need for the complex.
"As the 'baby boom' generation reaches maturity, the percentage of the population 55 and older has increased nationwide, state-wide, regionally, and locally," they said in their proposal, adding that the need for housing options has grown. "The arrival of the 'baby boom' generation into the ranks of senior citizens has had a notable impact on the demographic makeup of East Hampton. According to U.S. Census data, the total population of the Town of East Hampton aged 55 and over increased from 28 percent to 32 percent between 2000 and 2010."
They cited the 2005 East Hampton Town Comprehensive Plan, which includes providing housing opportunities to meet the needs of senior citizens.
"The Town of East Hampton has made strides in providing affordable rental housing for low-income seniors, but there are currently no age-restricted housing options for seniors whose assets are above the threshold for affordable housing funded by federal low-income housing tax credits," they said. "555 stands to bridge this gap by creating senior housing designed to allow all our seniors to remain in the community. "
The newly built St. Michael's Housing, which is located nearby, provides affordable rental housing for those 62 and older.
The development would also incorporate innovative green technology, such as solar shingled roofs, geothermal and solar thermal heating systems, subsurface sewage treatment facilities, reuse of wastewater for a zero wastewater discharge, and dark sky compliant lighting. The goal is to be a "net zero" energy use development in that it will be designed to produce as much energy as it consumes.
Jenkins said he knows his company has its work cut out.
Putnam Bridge will have to appear before the East Hampton Town Board for a zoning change, though he said there is nothing in the town's code that applies to market value senior residential living. Jenkins is working with Rick Whalen, a former town attorney, on writing a code that would fill what he called a hole in the zoning code.
"It's a big ask, but it's needed," Jenkins said. He said his company is in it for the long haul.
The property has seen a myriad of proposals for its use over the years, from a vineyard to affordable housing. The property has been used for special events like Soldier Ride, but its use also sparked heated debates, such as the ill fated MTK music festival. The Principi family built a stable there within the past decade, and Jenkins said it would be dismantled if the project is approved.
Kieran Brew, the chairman of ACAC, said it was too soon to comment on the project, as members didn't have an opportunity to ask questions. The developers will be invited back at a later date, he said.
Rona Klopman, a former chairwoman of the committee, said, "I'd like to see the zoning changes that they are proposing and look forward to having them come back to ACAC to answer the many questions left unanswered."
What's your first impression of the project? Leave a comment below.