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Aug 2, 2012 12:04 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Montauk Airport Up For Sale

Aug 7, 2012 4:54 PM

The Montauk Airport is on the market for $18 million. Established in 1957 on East Lake Drive, the 37.6-acre property abuts 1,000 acres of Suffolk County parkland. The airport is open to the public, but is privately owned by Montauk Airport Inc., whose president is Perry (Chip) Duryea III of Montauk.

According to Helen Gil, the airport manager, it does a brisk business in summer, with the biggest types of planes being the Pilatus, a single-engine turbo prop, and the King Air, which is a twin-engine model.

Ms. Gil, who’s worked at the airport for 19 years, said she sees “a lot of charters, a lot of business people coming in.” The facility has a 3,200-foot-long runway and one permanent and four portable hangars, according to the listing with Prudential Douglas Elliman real estate.

“It is used a lot,” Ms. Gil said. “It’s a vital airport, and we want to see it as an airport.”

Mr. Duryea referred questions about the sale to Paul Brennan at Prudential’s Bridgehampton office, with whom the property is listed. When asked why it was on the market, Mr. Brennan said all the owners live in Montauk, but that none of them fly. “Chip got it by inheritance,” Mr. Brennan said. “It’s an asset that is non-income-producing; it doesn’t make any money.”

The property is being marketed not as an airport but as residential property, he added.

“Whether you like it or not, Montauk is becoming gentrified,” Mr. Brennan said. “There are many super-wealthy people who are beginning to discover Montauk ... and they’re not going to drive 10 hours to get there, because you can’t get through the towns.”

But Mr. Brennan said he thought the sale of the airport for housing could hurt Montauk in the long run. “From an emergency standpoint, suppose we have a hurricane and Napeague stretch gets wiped out,” Mr. Brennan said. “For me, if it ever gets sold, it is going to be a detriment to the community of Montauk, big time.”

“It would be a shame if it was no longer an airport,” agreed Peter Lowenstein, the president of the Montauk Pilots Association, which has approximately 25 members who work, in part, to keep neighbors happy and who also see the airport as being of potential help in an emergency. Although he would not go into specifics, Mr. Lowenstein said the pilots had been “talking about various possibilities and, if there’s any interest, what we might be able to do,” since discovering this spring that the airport would be going on the market.

Mr. Brennan said he hopes to see state, county and or town government step in, perhaps in a public-private partnership. To that end he has in recent months spoken with East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, both of whom live in Montauk, as well as with State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

Thus far, Mr. Brennan said, he did not see much interest, not only because government at every level is strapped for cash, but also because noise affiliated with the East Hampton Airport has created so many problems for the town. Mr. Wilkinson did not return a call before this edition’s deadline, but Mr. Thiele said he believed that “the preferred action is to protect the status quo,” an airport with low-intensity use that “provides a location for everybody should there be an emergency in Montauk.”

Mr. Schneiderman agreed, adding that if Montauk were cut off, supplies such as medicine or food would come in through the airport. He had flown with his kids to Nantucket from the airport about a week ago, he said Tuesday, and “it was great.”

“Unlike the East Hampton Airport, it doesn’t bother people,” Mr. Thiele said.

“In fact, I think the people in Montauk would fight to keep the airport,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

The airport is a pre-existing, nonconforming use in a five-acre residential district. Mr. Brennan said the property would yield six house lots or could be taken over privately by someone with deep pockets—“you get somebody of Peter Kalikow’s caliber... a Ralph Lauren or Jimmy Buffett who likes to fly”—who would prefer to travel by air than wrestle with traffic to reach a vacation home in Montauk.

Mr. Schneiderman also said he would hate to see the property become “a landing strip for one person.”

Since the airport is surrounded by county parkland, Mr. Thiele said one option would be to convert it to open space. The government might be able to facilitate a private sale to pilots who use the airport, meanwhile purchasing the development rights, said Mr. Thiele, who’s spoken informally with some Montauk pilots about the idea.

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Can you provide a little more information? What is the current zoning, are their covenants/restrictions that the property must remain an aiport? Could a developer purchase the land and construct homes or similar?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 2, 12 12:38 PM
According to the EH zoning map its A5 residential. But its a perfect candidate for the county to buy as its surrounded by county parkland. That or Town CPF.
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Aug 2, 12 3:24 PM
Would love to see the County purchase it. . . Town CPF would be nice too, but there's a decent amount of infrastructure there, and I'm not sure using it as airport would jive with the CPF fund.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 2, 12 4:11 PM
Yeah let the CPF buy it so they can make it so no one can use it... If the CPF does get it no more taxes coming in from that property for the town. Us as tax payers have to make up the difference...
By tookatz (83), westhampton beach on Aug 2, 12 4:14 PM
Great spot for 400 condos
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Aug 2, 12 4:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
If montauk gets cut off by a storm we have boats and Helicopters that could provide emergancy services. The real issue is the fact that the owners aren't getting a big enough return on their asset and want to sell the facility.
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 12 2:23 PM
This airport received funding from the FAA for safety measures. It is covered by grant assurances that require it to be used as an airport for the next ten (10) years. This will have an affect on the value of any development rights.....
By shadow captain (34), sag harbor on Aug 8, 12 3:46 PM
If I had the capital I'd buy it an make it a fly-in community . . . that would provide a real sweet return!
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 12 3:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Also, there are some really weird statements being made by those involved...
Brennan openly says he wants to dump the property because it loses him money (not the best thing to say when trying to sell an asset).

Then Brennansays, "For me, if it ever gets sold, it is going to be a detriment to the community of Montauk, big time.” Then why did you take the listing?

I shouldn't be surprised that Brennan is talking like this, considering the guy bought a vacant piece of ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 12 3:58 PM
By whambulance123 (9), Southampton on Aug 8, 12 4:27 PM
86,000 dollars a month, at 4% for 30 years.

109,000 dollars a month, at 4% for 20 years.

And you thought your mortgage was pricey...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 8, 12 6:21 PM
Keep the airport! We do not need anymore development. Our roadways can't handle the traffic volume from Southampton to Montauk now!
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 12 7:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
God forbid California falls into the sea. We would then need an airport to replace LAX so we should keep this one...Sell it to a developer that will put condos there and stores a super large supermarket for the area...Mr. Morrow where art thou...
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Aug 8, 12 9:07 PM
idiots can you ever stay on point? the airstrip makes no money for the owners so they should sell. Paul as I have known him for 40 years is a straight shooter. I take offence to nature who has no facts.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Aug 8, 12 9:23 PM
I don't know what I said that you take "offence" to. It is true that he bought a piece of property to build a house on without realizing that the site contained substantial wetlands.

Also, can you explain why someone who takes a listing for an $18 million property would say that it makes no money, BUT you have to keep it as an airport for 10 years, then goes on to say it would be a detriment to the community if it got sold? I would never want my real estate rep to say those things, it ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 12 9:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BlackDog (47), Boca Raton on Aug 12, 12 8:23 PM