By Stephen J. Kotz
With the summer receding into the rear window, the parking shortage in Sag Harbor is not nearly as acute as it was in August, but Sag Harbor officials are still hoping a deal can be worked out that will allow the village to continue to use the former gas ball parking lot on Bridge Street and Long Island Avenue.
National Grid, the property’s owner, has allowed the village to use the lot rent-free since it completed a costly and extensive environmental cleanup of the site in 2009. But last summer, the company hired Avison Young, a real estate firm with an office in Melville, to try to get a better return on its investment.
“We have had a lot of interest in it,” said Ted Stratigos, a broker with Avison Young. “Other than that, I can’t tell you too much.”
Mr. Stratigos said the company would prefer to lease the site rather than sell it outright and would entertain offers to build whatever would be allowed under the current Office District zoning.
He held out hope that the village might be able to win the day. “We’d love to see the best use of the site that helps the community and the village,” he said.
Sag Harbor Mayor Sandra Schroeder said it was her understanding that National Grid would be willing to sell or lease the property. The village is waiting for both sides to get appraisals for the property. “Right now, it’s on hold,” she said.
The mayor said it was her understanding National Grid was hoping to have a long-term deal in place by the end of November. “I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed,” she said.
The lot, which has concrete barriers separating parking spaces and a rough and uneven gravel surface, provides space for about 80 vehicles. The village has allowed three-day parking in the lot, which is used by many employees who work at stores in the business district.
For many years the property was the site of a giant blue gas ball, or Hortonsphere. But from 1859 to about 1930, it was used to manufacture natural gas to light and heat village homes and businesses. The process left behind volatile organic compounds and was named a state Superfund site in the late 1990s.