Sweet Flip For Sag Harbor’s Morpurgo Manse

One year later, a million-plus price bump
Construction is underway at the old Morpurgo house, which changed hands again in June for over $1 million more than developers paid for it last year at an auction. Durell Godfrey photos

In the year or so since developers bought the rickety old Morpurgo house in Sag Harbor at auction for $1.325 million, it has been stabilized, and plans have been approved for nearly 6,000 square feet of living space. Last month they sold the house, at 6 Union Street, for a little over $2.5 million.

Rob Walford, a partner in Breskin Development, who with Max Breskin purchased the property, said yesterday that the company is committed to the project and that construction should be mostly complete by this time next year.

“We will restore whatever we can, and what can’t be restored will be replaced as close to the original as possible,” he said. “The house was in very poor condition when we purchased it, unfortunately, but that allows us to do some things that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.”

There will be “a meld of modern and old” in the Federal-style Italianate structure, he said. For example, a full-service elevator will rise to the top floor of the two-and-a-half-story building, where sliding glass doors will lead out to a yoga deck with a fireplace. There is no water view, but it will be a tranquil spot and afford more outdoor space on the .26-acre property, Mr. Walford said.

All in all there will be 4,200 square feet of space on the living floors and another 1,500 square feet in the basement, which will have 10-foot ceilings. The building will soon be lifted to allow for an 11-foot-deep foundation. The back of the house will be extended by 12 to 15 feet for a new kitchen and part of a deck off the second-floor master bedroom.

A porte-cochere on the side of the house that faces the John Jermain Memorial Library will provide privacy, Mr. Walford said. A pool will be installed in the backyard.

Anthony Vermandois, a Sag Harbor Village architect, is the designer. Construction has already begun. The front porch, which was beyond repair, has been dismantled and will be rebuilt.

The project has been granted variances for lot coverage, building coverage, setbacks on one side for a carport, and from the pyramid law, and the permits are in place, according to Thomas Preiato, the village building inspector.

A group including Mitch Winston of Amagansett and Mark Egerman of Beverly Hills, Calif., won the property at auction in June 2016, resurrecting hope that the house would be saved. The village had long batted around the idea of demolishing it for safety purposes.

The house was neglected for decades while two sisters, Annselm and Helga Morpurgo, fought over it. Twice, a judge ordered it auctioned, starting at over $1 million, but it never sold. One sister tried to sell it on eBay for $19 million, with no takers. It had neither running water nor heat when the village took action in 2007, saying it was unfit for human occupancy and ordering the remaining sister out.

A corporation bought the house later that year and it soon went into foreclosure, a victim of questionable mortgage schemes that landed former Suffolk Legislator George O. Guldi in prison for a time. The lengthy foreclosure process was only completed last year, leading to the auction.

Scott Strough and Christian Lipp of Compass Real Estate helped facilitate last year’s sale, and the most recent one as well. “From day one, standing at Town Hall, Christian and I made representations to the community that we were going to bring this building back,” Mr. Strough said.

It was “favorable happenstance” and good timing, Mr. Lipp said, adding that Mr. Winston and Mr. Egerman would not have sold had they not been confident that Breskin Development was also committed to restoring the house.

Mr. Egerman and Mr. Winston had also purchased the property behind it, at 5 Jefferson Street, which itself needs quite a bit of work. “When you own Boardwalk, you want to own Park Place,” Mr. Lipp explained. “We think the Union project is a five-star location, and it’s an extremely influential property within the village. Jefferson is Union’s Park Place.”