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Apr 10, 2012 5:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Epley: Former Saks Building To Have Tenant By Summer

Apr 11, 2012 9:43 AM

Since luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue left Southampton Village a year and a half ago due to what company officials cited as poor sales, the brick building with the columned entrance on the corner of Hampton Road and Main Street has sat vacant.

This summer, it will be vacant no more, according to Village Mayor Mark Epley.

“It’s going to be occupied for the summer,” Mr. Epley said on Friday. “Who’s going to occupy it, at this point in time, is not finalized, I think.”

Pottery Barn, a home furnishing store chain headquartered in San Francisco that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, is one potential tenant that has expressed interested in the site, according to both the mayor and Village Building Inspector Jon Foster.

Pottery Barn expressed interest in renting the entire 15,000-square-foot building, the mayor said. “But there were a couple of other groups that wanted to subdivide the building out with smaller shops,” he added. The mayor said he received his information from a real estate professional he spoke to recently.

When asked about Pottery Barn possibly moving in to the former Saks building, Mr. Foster replied, “I was told they were heading that way, and that’s what it looked like was going to happen.”

He added, though, that he originally heard that from the building’s owner, Robert Rattenni, though he had not heard any more in about two weeks. “He’s trying to get somebody in there. A bank was looking at it, and they kind of killed their own deal by wanting more from him and paying him less. You know how that goes,” Mr. Foster said.

When asked recently about the possibility of Pottery Barn occupying the building, Mr. Rattenni said, “There is, unfortunately, at this time, no truth to that rumor. Sorry, I wish there was.” He declined further comment.

A voicemail left this week at Pottery Barn’s corporate headquarters was not immediately returned.

The building is prominently located in the village’s business district. It was occupied by Saks from the 1970s to October 2010. Earlier in its history, it served as Southampton Town Hall, and the words “Southampton Town Hall” are still legible above the columns.

Also last week, Mr. Epley dismissed rumors percolating around the village that the popular coffee chain Starbucks was coming to the vacant building across Hampton Road from the former Saks building.

“That was the rumor going around, but it’s not true,” he said. That building, which has housed different shops in summers past, most recently clothing and furniture stores, has recently received approval from the Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review to change the windows in an effort to have better visibility for merchandise. That building also is not approved for wet uses, he said.

A call placed this week to the phone number posted on that building—that of the village business The Morley Group—was not immediately returned.

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