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Harbor Watch
Abandoned seaside factory in Sag Harbor being converted to luxury lofts.
Courtesy Beyer Blinder Belle

Compared to the flashier towns of the Hamptons, the Village of Sag Harbor traffics in quaint seaside charm with a picturesque Main Street, historic churches, and an eclectic mix of houses in a variety of 18th and 19th century styles. Until recently, one thing disrupted the otherwise postcard-perfect setting: a four-story brick factory complex just a block from Main Street that had been crumbling into ruin for over thirty years. Working with Beyer Blinder Belle, developers Cape Advisors are transforming the circa-1881 building and its site into a mix of more than 60 luxury loft condominiums, neo-traditional houses, and townhouses.

Tria Giovan

Originally built as a watchcase factory for Joseph Fahys & Company, and later used by Bulova, the interior features ample natural light, which enters the building through more than 700 windows. Massive wood beams and exposed brick give the building a rustic quality. Many of the structure’s original features, like a huge granite vault that will be repurposed into a kitchen for one unit, are being retained. Rather than chopping up the narrow floorplates with corridors, Beyer Blinder Belle’s design allows most units to be accessed through a small hallway connecting to one of three elevator cores. Most units will have windows on two or three sides. The architects raised the floors to create space for mechanicals. “Those were the two main ideas behind the design, keeping the spaces open and preserving the beams,” said Jack Beyer, partner at Beyer Blinder Belle. The well-known New York and Sag Harbor-based interior designer Steven Gambrel is designing the interiors as well as the fully furnished model apartment.

The adaptive reuse project will integrate the former factory building into its quaint, seaside setting.
Courtesy Beyer Blinder Belle

Most units will have a private outdoor space—made possible by the complex’s many courtyards—including several accessible green roofs. From the rooftop there are panoramic views of the town, harbor, and ocean. Quennell Rothschild & Partners are designing the landscape. Parking will be placed below ground with a private park and pool above. The new houses ring the pool area and will share all amenities with the factory-lofts.

From ruin to revival, the watchcase development returns a blighted corner of Sag Harbor to life. “People tried for decades to figure it out,” Beyer said. “A lot of people in town just stopped looking at the building. Now it’s something the community can be proud of.”

Alan G. Brake