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Jan 18, 2011 6:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Towns Hope Third Time Is A Charm For Poxabogue Restaurant Lease

Jan 18, 2011 6:42 PM

After receiving no bids in its first two attempts, Southampton Town will put out a third proposal request for the restaurant at the Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack this week in hopes of finding a new operator for the food concessions.

Bid packages will be available on Thursday, January 20, in the town clerk’s office. The deadline for bid submissions will be February 9, and the town hopes to have selected a new tenant for the restaurant by February 22.

The lease requirements in this third offering are the same as in the second offering. Town officials said this week they think the timing of the second bid proposal, the deadline for which was December 28, dampened interest because of the holiday season.

After its first bid proposal was sniffed at by a half dozen restaurant owners and food companies but got no bites, the town dropped its $7,500 monthly rent requirement and put the lease on the 34-seat restaurant up for bid again in December, offering would-be operators the opportunity to tell them what they’d be willing to pay for rent.

“We think the second bid was bad timing, and we hope we’ll see some more interest this time around,” Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi said. “It’s a town facility, and we’ve put a lot of capital into it, and we need to get someone in there. We don’t want to be in the restaurant business.”

The most recent tenant, the Fairway Restaurant, moved out in April 2010, when owner Danny Murray could not reach an agreement on a new lease with the facility’s operating company, Long Island Golf Management. Later, extensive mold was discovered in the basement of the building. Southampton Town, which owns the golf facility jointly with East Hampton Town, spent more than $100,000 to remediate the mold and replace the roof and flooring in the restaurant space. Nonetheless, the restaurant operators who had agreed to take over the space, Love Lane Kitchen from Mattituck, pulled out when the town imposed new restrictions on hours of operation—limiting service to no later than 5 p.m.—and excluded the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Mr. Murray, who ran the Fairway Restaurant for nearly 20 years at the site, said he would probably submit a bid for getting his old space back the second time around. He noted that while the renovated space is in better condition, it is also bare bones now, and the restaurant facilities will need to be entirely restored, at considerable expense for whoever takes it over.

“It’s a tough little spot now—you’re going to have to put a lot into it to open,” he said. “I did well there, but it’s still just a 34-seat restaurant.”

MICHAEL WRIGHT

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A textbook case of government incompetence. Giving the golf operator the restaurant without expressely limiting the hours/no alchohol defies explanation. Everyone in this scenario, taxpayers, golf operator, (prior)restaurant operator, (wanna-be) restaurant operator is and continues to be the losers.
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Jan 20, 11 2:22 PM
You can't make this stuff up! How long has this been going on?

What was the name, the Fairway Restaurant? Yes that was Mr. Murray's Fair Way of doing business. What a loss to have this fine establishment go.

What is Mr. Nuzzi going to call his new restaurant?

The Wrong Way?

PS -- Good quote from Chris "We don't want to be in the restaurant business" Nuzzi. Guess what, son, you have been in the restaurant business for the last year, and YOU ARE LOSING MONEY BIG ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 20, 11 6:09 PM
This all came about because the former owner (real estate developer and lawyer Lenny Ackerman) wanted to add some lights and expand the use of the range. When the town balked, he threatened to develop houses there. So the town bought him out (a multimillion dollar profit) and continues to mismanage a facility they had no business buying in the first place. Instead they should have given Ackerman some expansion in exchange for the residential development rights.

Thanks for this mess go to ...more
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Jan 21, 11 4:19 PM
The place has to have more than 34 seats. What about the tables on the outdoor decks?
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jan 23, 11 11:26 PM