Trio Buys Majority of Fire Island Commercial District for $17M
- Mar 26, 2010
March 26, 2010
By Allison Landa, News Editor
Famed gay community destination Fire Island Pines, N.Y., has seen its largest transaction in history. Investment group FIP Ventures has bought the vast majority of Fire Island commercial property and establishments for $17 million.
The purchase includes the Pavilion nightclub complex, the Blue Whale and Bay Bar restaurants, the Hotel Ciel, a grocery store, gym and clothing store, along with numerous other retail spaces and residential properties. It was an off-market purchase; the properties were not for sale until the trio approached their previous owners.
Fire Island is both an island and a census-designated place. It is one of Long Island’s south shore outer barrier islands, running 31 miles long. It has a land area of 8.7 square miles and a permanent population of only 491 people, but is a major destination for tourists and summertime residents. It was the site of a major beach renourishment effort in 2009, with the National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Towns of Brookhaven and Islip and Fire Island residents working together to dredge, pump, and shape sand. The project was estimated to cost between $23 and $25 million and was funded by bonds.
The FIP Ventures team consists of Blesso Properties president Matthew Blesso, journalist and Madison Fire Island Pines bed and breakfast owner Andrew Kirtzman, and Pines summer renter and managing partner of Weissman Equities Seth Weissman. The trio plans to leave major area institutions untouched along with restoring and making improvements to others. A complete renovation is on tap for the Hotel Ciel, with the reopening set for May 2011.
“The improvements we plan are geared towards all parts of the community,” Blesso said when announcing the news. “There are very affluent people in the Pines, but there are also a lot of young gays who come here without a fortune to spend. That mix is a big part of the unique character of the Pines, and we intend to encourage it.”