Suit Over Marc Rowan’s Duryea’s Settled

Jane Bimson

The Town of East Hampton and Marc Rowan, the billionaire co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management who bought Perry B. Duryea & Son Inc., the wholesale-retail fish market with dining on Fort Pond Bay in Montauk, have settled a lawsuit that brings to an end several years of dispute over use on, and plans for, the property.

Mr. Rowan will apply to the town’s planning board for restaurant use, legalizing table service where it was technically disallowed, Michael Sendlenski, the town attorney, said yesterday, as well as installation of an innovative alternative septic system on the landward side of Tuthill Road that will reduce nitrogen loading to both Fort Pond and Tuthill Pond, also landward of Tuthill Road.

Mr. Rowan, who previously served on the board of Norwegian Cruise Lines, has agreed that no portion of the property will permit the landing of cruise ships or ferry services, according to terms of the settlement, putting to rest a persistent rumor. He has also agreed to donate the property at 120 Tuthill Point Road, along with half of the area of Tuthill Pond and its bottomlands, to the town or a qualified environmental organization, and contribute to a fund for road improvements to mitigate flooding at the intersection of Tuthill and Manor Roads.

The town will deliver a certificate of occupancy for structures on the property pertaining to the complex’s ice manufacture, sale, and storage facility; fish processing, preparation, and cleaning; fish market; wholesale and retail seafood shop with ancillary areas; an accessory dining patio; a cottage and garage, and outdoor decks, as well as a house and attached garage that was once the Duryea family’s residence.

A pending building permit application for renovation and reconstruction of an existing garage is to be issued no later than 20 days from the application’s completion, according to the settlement, and Mr. Rowan will not be precluded from applying for future alterations on the site.

The town will honor state patents granted to the Duryeas long ago, acknowledging that it has no jurisdiction over a pier repaired after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Existence of the patents, Mr. Sendlenski said, are “not shocking or surprising, based on Duryea’s position in Albany.” Perry B. Duryea Sr. served as a state senator and state conservation commissioner. Perry B. Duryea Jr., who died in 2004, was a longtime assemblyman and the Republican candidate for governor in 1978.

Mr. Rowan bought the property at 65 and 66 Tuthill Road for $6.3 million in 2014, around 80 years after Perry Duryea Sr. bought into the business with a partner, Capt. E.B. Tuthill. The sale added to a growing trend of Montauk’s mom-and-pop businesses changing hands as investors flooded the hamlet with money over the last decade.

Food prices at Duryea’s skyrocketed: The menu listed on its website includes a $54 lobster Cobb salad, a two-pound lobster for $63, and a three-pound fluke at $125. A bottle of Dom Perignon 2004 Rosé is listed at $795.

The new owner’s 2015 proposal to remove all of the structures on the site and replace them with a 6,350-square-foot restaurant and an open deck with a total capacity of 353 patrons was tabled before the planning board could consider it.

In 2016, Mr. Rowan’s representatives took to the planning board a proposal to demolish four cottages built in 1960 at 80 Firestone Road, next to the Montauket, a property he acquired in 2015 for $2.2 million, and replace them with three much larger resort cottages, each with its own private pool and a share of the clifftop view of Fort Pond Bay. The town’s building inspector said Mr. Rowan would need variances from the zoning board of appeals to build close to what was determined to be a bluff crest perpendicular to the shoreline.

After Mr. Rowan’s appeal to the zoning board failed, he sued, and a state judge overruled the building inspector.