NY Times July 1981 Article

Jul 31, 1981 at 02:15 pm by bwsupport

The Dune Alpin Farm Co-op community was built on the original dairy farm of Abe Katz. In Dec 1981 the Farm was converted into a luxury coop community with 48 co-op units, and several home properties owned by individuals. One article from the NY Times in July 1981 highlights a personal anecdote to the founding of the co-op community.


At the age of 5, Stanley J. Harte Jr. spelled ''amortization'' correctly in a spelling bee. When he was challenged to explain the meaning, he obliged.

That triumph occurred 30 years ago. It demonstrates the precocious interest in real-estate matters that is possible when fate arranges the proper family heritage for a child.

Mr. Harte's great-grandfather bought, built and managed loft buildings in Manhattan. His grandfather took over the business. His father started out as a lawyer in the postwar period but later developed buildings for the United States Post Office and then middle-income cooperatives. In the 1970's his father moved to Florida and developed shopping centers there and elsewhere.

What with one thing and another, Stanley Harte Jr. learned the business at his father's knee and practiced it at his father's side until the elder Mr. Harte went South. Then the question for the son was which way to turn.

He turned East. In the town of East Hampton, in Suffolk County, he rented a small house off Montauk Highway, intending to indulge a taste for television writing. But soon he concluded that he was sitting in the midst of a ''real-estate man's heaven.''

''I was amazed at the land for sale,'' he said.

On the property he eventually purchased, almost outside the back door of his rented house, Mr. Harte and his partners are in the midst of building 48 luxury cooperatives in a carefully planned and environmentally distinctive subdivision called Dune Alpin Farm. It is the most ambitious housing effort yet undertaken in East Hampton, a $14 million project in which the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States has made a $9.5 million construction loan.

First Mr. Harte bought the 85 acres of Dune Alpin Farm, and then he bought 50 additional acres nearby, paying a total of $1,625,000 for all 135 acres. Dune Alpin, once a dairy farm, more recently was operated by a lessee as a horse farm. Two hundred years ago the McAlpin family owned the land. The ocean had long since receded from the property, but it it left a dune. Hence the name, which evolved from McAlpin Dune farm.

The cluster plan ultimately approved by the town provides for the construction of 45 cooperatives in six clusters of low, cedar-clad buildings with pitched roofs on 22 acres. The three other units are in existing, totally rehabilitated cottages on the site. There are also four tennis courts and two swimming pools.

This construction is well advanced and buyers are to take occupancy next January. The Delta Group of Philadelphia was brought in as architects and land planners. Castagna & Sons of Manhasset is the general contractor.

In addition, the developers are offering 59 half-acre to one-and-ahalf-acre lots for sale, at current prices of $45,000 to $150,000, for custom home construction off the winding roads and a few culs-desac. Home positioning and exterior characteristics - pitched roofs, cedar shingles, no contemporary architecture - must conform to architectural guidelines to preserve overall harmony.

Fifty acres that include the buildings that once housed horses have been kept by the developers and are being rehabilitated into what will be a ''deluxe riding and boarding facility.'' And 50 acres have been dedicated to the town or village as scenic easements.

The co-ops are described by Mr. Harte as ''ultraluxury'' and have attracted buyers of commensurate means. Most have paid all cash. The eight one-bedroom units with 1,600 square feet of space sell for $105,000; the 10 convertible, two-bedroom units with 1,900 square feet (''convertible'' because one bedroom can be used as a dining room) sell for $127,000; the 15 two-bedroom units with 2,800 square feet sell for $173,000, and the 15 three-bedroom units with 3,100 square feet sell for $235,000.

Estimated monthly maintenance charges include the debt service on $4 million in mortgages that the cooperative corporation will hold. As an example, the seller estimates the annual maintenance charge on a $173,000 unit at $15,000, or a net annual cost of $8,400 to a buyer in a 50 percent tax bracket. The price excludes carrying costs on a loan to meet the purchase price.

In contrast to many comparably priced new developments in the metropolitan region, security systems are not emphasized at Dune Alpin Farm. There is no guardhouse. Mr. Harte said he saw no need for that here. But what there will be is a maintenance staff to provide almost hotel-like services for owners.

Do they want to phone ahead on a Friday night and be sure the refrigerator is stocked with food when they arrive? The staff will take care of it. It will also prepare the house for arrival and clean up after departure. It will run a jitney service every half-hour to the town.

As Mr. Harte explained it, the only safe way to develop architecturally and environmentally significant housing is to do it at the high end of the market. ''Luxury money is the only thing that is absolutely stable,'' he said.

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