Silver Sands Motel sold; new owner will spend $4 million on upgrades
The waterfront Silver Sands Motel in Greenport is under new ownership, after its founding family ended a decade-long struggle to retain control of the property.
The new owners said they plan to spend millions improving the roughly 30-acre property while retaining its original 1950s feel.
The sale took place on Wednesday, said Judi Desiderio, CEO of East Hampton-based Town & Country Real Estate. Town & Country agent Lori Feilen was the listing and sales agent.
Desiderio said the transaction was the “most complex” sale she’s seen in 37 years in real estate, with multiple sellers, mortgages and liens. “I think everyone left happy, but it was a very difficult transaction,” she said.
Desiderio declined to specify the price. However, she said, so far this year, “it’s the number one business transaction on North Fork.”
The buyer, Silver Sands Holdings I LLC, was expected to complete the purchase on April 6, but the closing was postponed because one of the sellers, Jean Burden, 74, was ill, according to court documents. The documents were submitted earlier this month as part of a lawsuit filed last July by Silver Sands Holdings against Burden and his son Terry Keefe, the daughter and grandson of the couple who founded the hotel in 1957. In the lawsuit, the company asked a judge to force Burden and Keefe to produce the hotel’s financial records.
Southold resident Alexander Perros, who is a member and director of Silver Sands Holdings according to court records, did not respond to requests for comment.
Keefe and Burden declined to comment Thursday, citing a confidentiality agreement. Their lawyer, John Balestriere, said there was “a transaction involving Silver Sands Motel”, but declined to comment further.
The new owners plan to spend approximately $4 million to renovate the motel and more than a dozen cabins; open a new restaurant, canteen and bar; launching a series of events such as clam bakes and outdoor movie nights; and develop a beach club open to non-hotel guests, a business plan filed this month in the lawsuit shows.
After the revamp, prices are expected to range from $385 to $875 a night, depending on the business plan. The nearly 65-year-old hotel previously charged up to $200 a night. The property features a crescent-shaped beach on Peconic Bay, located within walking distance of the motel and cottages.
“It’s like no other real estate on the North Fork,” Desiderio said. “It’s a piece of history…it’s an incredible property.”
Silver Sands Holdings spent a year acquiring the property. The company bought a partial stake in the hotel a year ago from Darline Duffy, the widow of Edward Jurzenia, Burden’s brother, who died in 2019, court records show.
The company filed its lawsuit against Burden and Keefe three months later. In the lawsuit, Silver Sands Holdings alleged that Burden and Keefe “mismanaged” the motel’s finances “by spending profits on expenses unrelated to the ordinary operating costs of the business,” court documents show. Keefe responded in court papers that the Silver Sands Holdings allegations were “completely fabricated and speculative allegations.”
Keefe and Burden’s attorney filed court documents on Wednesday seeking a halt to Silver Sands Holdings’ lawsuit against them “without cost or expense to or against any party.” A lawyer for the company, Peter McGreevy, declined to comment on Thursday.
The sale came after Burden and Keefe battled in court for about 12 years to retain control of the property, which would have been Greenport’s oldest family hotel. The long-running court battles, which included a 2010 foreclosure lawsuit filed by a lender, began before Perros and Silver Sands Holdings became involved.
As they fought for more than a decade to retain ownership of the property, Burden and his son said in court that Burden was the victim of financial fraud. The allegations did not target Perros or Silver Sands Holdings.
Their lenders disputed the allegations of fraud, and one argued in court papers that they “got into debt” to save the business.
The family’s debt has ballooned over the years to about $3 million, including interest and penalties, according to court documents.
Last year, before signing the confidentiality agreement, Burden recalled in an interview what it was like growing up on the property, where she helped her parents run the hotel and spent her free time fishing, go boating and waterskiing with visiting children or ride a bike. loose horse his family kept on the property.
Over the years, she says, the family gradually acquired more and more properties from neighbors, adding one small cottage after another to their holdings. “Growing up, it was wonderful living here,” she said, although “you were always working to pay for the next property.”