Teardown Fevee

Buying a newly built home in the Hamptons often starts with demolishing a house erected just a few decades ago

Jackhammers pound away at construction sites all over New York City, and city dwellers are exporting that fervor for out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new to the Hamptons.

Recently, developer and interior designer James Michael Howard made way for a new 11,600-square-foot house at 70 Matthews Lane in Bridgehampton by tearing down an existing four-bedroom house from the 1980s. He paid $3.7 million to “Manchester by the Sea” director Kenneth Lonergan for the right. His new seven-bedroom, nine-bath spec house is listed for $11.9 million and has 30-foot ceilings with exposed beams, a breakfast nook that seats 10 and a 16-seat theater as well as in-ground pool. It is also fully furnished to the nines.

And an East Hampton home that belongs to the estate of investment banker Carl Tiedemann recently came back on the market for $85 million, nearly double its original price. The property now comes with plans for a 14,000-square-foot mansion to replace the existing 6,100-square-foot home, built in the dark ages, or 1990.

The scarcity of developable land means that historic or simply middle-class homes are disappearing from the Hamptons at a new speed, according to the New York Times.

Older houses “don’t have the atmosphere people are looking for today and don’t have the light,” Howard told the Times. “Ceilings are low; windows are small.” Newer Hamptons houses have more volume, he added, with “quick and easy access to the outside and a lot of seating areas inside and outside.”

With less land available in the Hamptons,
teardowns are often the route to building homes
with the amount of square footage
high-end buyers want today.

Corcoran’s Gary DePersia is listing Howard’s spec house along with eight other houses on teardown sites. “With the towns buying up open space, that diminishes further the available vacant lots, making teardowns even more viable and important for those who want to build a house,” he said to the Times.

“The hedge fund guys buy houses for $40 million and knock them down,” Joe Farrell, a builder who counts about 100 teardowns among the 400 homes he has built in the Hamptons since 1996, told the Times. “People just want new now.”

Tiedemann’s 7.1-acre estate at 19 and 23 Chauncey Close in Georgica Pond first hit the market in 2015 asking $45 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. The price was shaved back to $35 million last year and was then pulled from the market.

The plans call for a six-bedroom house with a gym and screening room, outdoor swimming pool, garage, greenhouse and formal gardens.

Tiedemann, who founded Tiedemann Investment Group and died last year, built the home that’s currently on the property, according to the Journal. That house features beams from an English barn that was built the late 1500s.

Georgica Pond is one of the most expensive parts of Hamptons. Last year, David Geffen sold his estate there on West End Road for $67 million, and celebrities such as Steven Spielberg and Ronald Perelman also have homes there.

Still, the market for high-end homes continues to experience a tough time. A new report from East End real estate firm Town & Country showed that none of the hamlets experienced an increase in the $10 million-plus and $20 million price ranges for the first quarter of 2017. In fact, the report said, the only sale in the $20 million-and-up category was 7 Old Town Road in Southampton Village for $26 million.

The number of sales in the $3.5 million to $4.99 million price range fell 11 percent, while the number of sales in the $5 million to $9.99 million range dropped 6 percent.