Millard "Mickey" Drexler, the CEO of J. Crew, who also owns the former Andy Warhol estate just to the west, has purchased in Montauk. Paul Brennan of , who brokered the deal, confirmed today that the ranch went for $11.4 million and that the asking price had been $17 million. The closing took place on Monday in East Hampton.
The roughly 22-acre property includes what its owners, Diane and Gardner "Rusty" Leaver, have said is the oldest working cattle ranch in the United States, dating back to times when East Hampton's colonists sent their livestock east to graze. The Leavers sold the development rights to about 18 acres of the land years ago to East Hampton Town. Aside from a large pasture for horses and cattle, the property also contains their residence, a barn, and a relatively small, developable lot.
Diane Leaver's family, the Dickinsons, worked the farm for generations. Under the agreement signed this week, the Leavers will continue to live at and operate the ranch just as they do now for the next five years. At that time they will move their operations exclusively to the north side of Montauk Highway, where they now operate stables from which horseback riders set off on trails weaving through .
Brennan was also a broker for the sale of Eothen, the former Warhol estate that Drexler purchased for $27 million, according to a New York Times article in 2007. "I think it's good for Montauk," he said of Drexler's more recent purchase. "It keeps the character of Montauk and will probably be more of a grassland effect than a working farm." Ultimately, he said, the use will be "less intense."
"It will be left pretty much the way it is, just more benign, more pastoral," he said. "I think the fact that Mickey's the caretaker of it will be a plus -- not that Diane and Rusty are bad. It will just be a transition to another person who cares about Montauk. Mickey's very sensitive to Montauk, enjoys Montauk, and wants to keep it as pastoral and beautiful as possible."
The Leavers could not be reached today for comment.