When Friends of Bay Street announced that the group had closed on the purchase of the Water Street Shops on October 30, 2020, the sales price was withheld. However, now that the deed transfer has been officially recorded, that number is now public information: The purchase price for the Sag Harbor Village commercial property was $13,091,030.
Friends of Bay Street and the co-purchaser, Sag Harbor Redevelopment Inc., bought the property at 22 Long Island Avenue to be reimagined as a new home for Bay Street Theater, the nonprofit performing arts theater that has been renting space at the foot of the Long Wharf since its inception in 1991.
The property had been listed in July 2020 for $13.9 million. Most recognizably, it is host to a 7-Eleven convenience store, but the 15,000-square-foot Water Street Shops building has seven other commercial units and four office suites as well.
Upon the announcement in October that the site was purchased on behalf of Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy said, “We are thrilled because this means Bay Street will stay in Sag Harbor and remain an important economic driver and cultural center.”
The 0.66-acre property is adjacent to the new John Steinbeck Waterfront Park. While the prospect of the village and the town purchasing 22 Long Island Avenue with Community Preservation Fund revenue to expand the park was considered, the idea never came to fruition.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman did say last year that the town would be willing to discuss using the Community Preservation Fund to buy from Bay Street any land left over that could be a logical addition to the park. Should that happen, it would help Friends of Bay Street recoup some of the more than $13 million invested in the land and help underwrite a new facility.
Bay Street Theater’s announced plans include “multiple theaters, including a main stage theater that will retain the well-known intimacy of the original venue, while offering additional fixed and flexible spaces to accommodate different configurations keyed to artistic vision and production needs.” Additionally, the facility will include space for educational programs for children and adults and a center for new work development.
The announcement had also anticipated a mid-2021 groundbreaking and completion date of 2023.