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Shelter Island faces identity crisis as prices soar

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Can Shelter Island become the new East Hampton?

This summer, the sleepiest and most isolated corner of the East End, accessible only by ferry, has emerged as a red real estate battlefield and social scene. Not everyone is convinced that it is good.

In fact, what’s happening on the 29-square-mile island is an abbreviation for the challenges of so many resort towns across the country. A balance between investment needs and new occupants, social, economic and logistic—what the influx of income earners constantly creates?

“I went there twice a summer to get the lunch and bike I needed, but I never thought about it anymore,” said Valerie Mnuchin, sister of former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Told the post. “But we fell in love with it.”

Mnuchin currently lives full-time in the east and opened his first restaurant in July this year. Dubbed Leon 1909, a casual French bistro, is a true family relationship. Named after her grandfather, it’s a partnership with the banker’s dad, Robert. His hospitality expertise has been refined through his former ownership of Mayflower Inn in Connecticut.

As prices soar and new amenities open, Shelter Island is becoming a gated community for the rich.

Getty Images / iStockphoto

“I have a flashy name, but I’m not a flashy person, and I’m not really a Hamptons person,” she said. “I love the ocean, the light, and the simpler experience. My only concern is that the shelter island soars too much.”

Nevertheless, Shelter Island is changing. According to Realtor.com, the island’s median home price in April was $ 1.9 million, up 16.9% year-on-year. Five years ago, the median price was only $ 921,250, less than half.

The brand new four-bedroom home in 8 Kobets Lane is the region’s most expensive $ 13.75 million property. But in 2018, land with 6,000 square feet of stunners traded for only $ 815,000.

The attraction of these cash-rich newcomers to the island is, at least in part, due to the band of new facilities, hotels and restaurants that will open in the area this summer.

The appearance of Pridwin.
Proudly overlooking Crescent Beach, Pridwin reopened this month.

For example, Pridwin is a classic hotel overlooking Crescent Beach on the north side of the island and is now a partnership between long-time owners of the Petrie family and Cape Resort.

The deep pockets of the cape helped fund the two-year Reno of the 49-room hotel that reopened this month.

The Rams Head Inn also survived the pandemic and was refurbished this winter. Meanwhile, the Chequit Hotel is now in the hands of the Soloviev Group, led by Stephen Soloviev, the son of the late Sheldon Thoreau, a New York real estate tycoon. Cozily, his ex-wife Stacey, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the newly reopened site. It has been refurbished to expand to 35 rooms and will also add 3 new restaurants.

Former Wall Streeter and current real estate broker on Shelter Island, Peter Humphrey will appeal.

The appearance of Chequit.
Chequit was once shabby and is now adding cashiers to a chic island.

“I’m a trader, so I shouted’buy’as an investment,” Humphrey says. “It was very cheap compared to the Hamptons. The housing stock was full of old homes that could be repaired.”

But like their neighbors, they are now worried that the island is moving too fast.
“The community will face an identity crisis. Are we a gated community for millionaires, or are we keeping a mix of people in such an interesting place?” Accountants Liz Hanley, 45 years old.

She is not a “harelegger” (Shelter Island talks about the person born here), but she attended elementary school here before moving to the west coast.

A woman in a swimsuit at Shelter Island.
Shelter Island is suddenly attracting the crowds seen.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

She and her 58-year-old husband, David, are now back full-time, with three teenage daughters being towed.
“When we came back, no one of my childhood friends lived on the island. They couldn’t afford it,” she lamented.

Increasing housing supply will ease pressure, but it’s a controversial topic.

“It’s a struggle between NIMBY and the real reality of economics surrounding housing,” Humphrey said. “They really resist adding housing. It’s stiff.”

It can also cause fracas.

“Locals should be able to continue their great local business without being taken over by“ Sidiot ”. That’s what they call us, and for good reason. Look at East Hampton. “

Valerie Mnuchin

“We challenged people to go out and vie for problems with members of the town’s board, and these aren’t bar fighters-type people, they have a high degree.” Said one resident who asked to remain anonymous. “I haven’t actually reached that point.”

Short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb are also a hot topic here. The island government introduced regulations on short-term leasing in 2017. It aims to protect potential renters throughout the year from the types of weekends that are prone to parties. However, John Kronin, now 71, states that the rule is no longer in force.

Placing personnel on all new hip joints open on the island also weighed on supply.

Mnuchin did not hesitate to criticize these criticisms and, as part of his investment, purchased season staff housing so that people could live and work here instead of commuting by ferry at the end of the shift to the mainland. Point out.

“Look, it’s also my backup-it worries me,” she said. “I fell in love with what is now Shelter Island. Locals should be able to continue their great local business without being taken over by the’Sidiot’. That’s what they call us, and for good reason. Look at East Hampton. “

But this is not the first time Shelter Island has captured the imagination of rich and famous people.

In 1997, hotel owner André Balazs reopened the seaside motel on Shelter Island as a bustling sunset beach at its peak as a chic pied piper (he still operates). taste.
It remains an undisputed party spot in the area.

“Just because I’m 60 doesn’t mean I don’t want a 25-year-old kid to have fun,” said Chris Taehan, who moved to Shelter Island at an early age.

“But the problem is that everything is so high-end. Not all upper class people even want” those people “to live here. “

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