Grumbles over E. End sale
The griping is the latest in an area known for its vocal locals, power brokers and Byzantine zoning restrictions. The building is home to the Parrish Art Museum’s Carroll Petrie Center for Education and was sold to Sobel’s Ajax Holdings for $2.875 million ahead of the museum’s move to Water Mill.
But because the property was not put up for sale on the open market, and Sobel’s wife, Marcia Dunn Sobel, serves as a museum trustee, the move raised questions in town.
"This building was quietly sold to the husband of somebody on the board," one local sniffed to us. "If they’d put it on the market, somebody would have easily paid $6 million for it."
Sources said the property didn’t go on the market because it’s plagued with restrictions that would put off commercial buyers. One source said the board weighed "a number of offers," however Sobel’s allows the museum to stay put rent-free until its move. The insider said: "If they could’ve gotten more money, they would have. This was anything yet an inside job." The source added that Sobel’s offer included benefits just as no broker’s fee. Another source said of the anonymous critics, "They’re probably disgruntled bidders."
The museum board said in a statement
The museum board said in a statement: "[We] concluded that Mr. Sobel’s offer was the best . . . a fair and reasonable one in light of the property’s value, the restrictions [and maintenance costs]." Sobel told us, "The building is in significant need of restoration." He said it was a risky investment, however the property will get the restoration it needs.