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A Piece of History in Greenport


By Ella Abrams

Not long ago, running a business in Greenport was strictly a seasonal affair. If you were a shopkeeper, you shut your doors in the winter as soon as the last tourists left (unless, say, you sold, coffee). In recent years, however, increase in year-round residents has got some business owners making it through the winter. The Vintage Times, for instance, a funky vintage clothing and mid-century modern furniture shop on Main Street, is open on weekends throughout the off-season, closing for just a few weeks during the coldest months. And both the fabulous 1943 Pizza Bar and its sister establishment, the cocktail bar Brix and Rye, remain open on weekends throughout the off-season. With commercial space in well-preserved historic buildings is in short supply, properties such as the one below are hot tickets.

The numbers
Located at 136 Main St., the three story, 6,984 commercial building was constructed in 1850, has 2 half bathrooms, sits on .125 acres, and is listed at $1.295, 000 with Janet Markarian of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.

Why we love it
Prime location. It’s situated between an ice cream parlor and a leather goods store on a street that gets a lot of foot traffic.

Old-timey feel. On the ground floor is the iconic Goldberg Toys and Electronics. At street level, a blue door leads to the capacious second and third floors, where members of the Empire Council Club Inc. of Greenport have met every week since 1925. Claudio’s Restaurant was born here!

Original architectural details. Tin ceilings, beadboard, gingerbread trim–all intact. And tall west-facing windows have views of the harbor from the third floor. “It’s rare for a historic building of this quality–one that hasn’t been subdivided, chopped up, or wrecked–to be offered publically. Such places tend to stay in the family,” says listing agent Janet Markarian. In fact, the building hasn’t been up for sale in 85 years.

But is it a solid investment?
According to Markarian, “As property values go up, people are spending more. Barring terrible weather, they come out weekly throughout the year and they have to furnish their second homes and they want to go out to dinner and eat good good food.” She anticipates that we will be seeing a stronger year-round community on the North Fork, which could in time sustain businesses.

The vision thing
Potential uses include an art gallery or an artist or artisan’s studio. “The building is structurally in very good shape,” says Markarian. “It’s a wonderful retail space. This isn’t the kind of commercial property that you buy for the current rent roll,” she notes. “Everything will depend on the buyer having a vision for the property.”