One of East Hampton Village’s most visible properties, 1 Main Street, sold on Monday to the world’s richest person, Bernard Arnault, for $22 million. Cartier, a luxury retailer of watches, jewelry, and $1,000 pens, rented the space last summer. The fashion designer Elie Tahari was the previous owner.
The building is 5,000 square feet split between two levels, so each square foot cost Mr. Arnault $4,400. “It’s a record price per square foot for any commercial real estate transaction in the Hamptons, ever,” said Jeremey Tahari of Tahari Capital, in a phone call.
According to a Cushman & Wakefield spokesperson, the average cost of a square foot of commercial space in East Hampton since September 2021 is $1,348. The high price of 1 Main Street “is indicative of a combination of both location and tenancy (Cartier).”
“The property was originally acquired and renovated by my father with the purpose of displaying to boutiques what the Tahari store would look like in their department stores,” said Mr. Tahari. “I think he did a fantastic job doing so. It’s a remarkable piece of real estate that says a lot about the Tahari brand and my father’s vision.”
It has been a big week for Mr. Arnault, the C.E.O. of LVMH, a luxury goods conglomerate based in France that owns such brands as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Tiffany, Sephora, and Givenchy.
Not only did he close on the East Hampton property, but he was named by Forbes Magazine as the world’s richest person, edging out Elon Musk. It is the first time he’s ever held that title.
Shares of LVMH are near record highs, revenues and profits are “setting records” according to Forbes Magazine. Mr. Arnault’s net worth increased by $53 billion dollars last year to $211 billion. The building on Main Street represents about one ten-thousandth of his total wealth.
“We are thrilled to have arranged the sale of 1 Main Street, one of the most iconic retail assets in East Hampton,” said Jordan Sutton of Cushman & Wakefield, who represented Elie Tahari. “Luxury brands such as LVMH have embraced the East End of Long Island, not just on a seasonal basis but a full-time lifestyle.”
“Retail pockets such as Main Street have become a critical component to high-end retailers’ marketing and brand recognition. This transaction truly defines the strength of East Hampton’s downtown retail,” said Daniel Abbondandolo, another broker with Cushman & Wakefield.
The $22 million price tag may sound like a lot to your average ambulance volunteer, but these numbers have become somewhat normal on Main Street in East Hampton. Last year, 66 Newtown Lane, which contains retail and office spaces and a restaurant, sold for $28 million, and Prada moved into 2 Newtown Lane after it sold for just over $6 million.
“This is an anomaly, the price,” said Hal Zwick, a commercial real estate broker. “It’s obviously the premier building out here, and when Elie Tahari purchased it in 2007, he did a phenomenal renovation. It’s a corner, it has great visibility. It’s almost the perfect building.” Mr. Zwick said the eye-popping price only makes sense in the context of its being purchased by the user. “LVMH has the highest status brands in the entire world. Now they’ll have their premier showcase brands in a premier showcase building.”
Last year when Mr. Zwick brokered the sale of 66 Newtown, which boasts roughly 10,000 square feet of retail space and 10,000 square feet of office space, he said that was for investment purposes, and was not a valid comparison. “It’s a totally different location and purchased for a different reason. One Main Street was purchased as a showcase for the user.”
It is, more or less, a $22 million advertisement planted in the center of some of the richest ZIP codes in the United States.
Mr. Zwick said another corner property, at 87 Main Street, previously occupied by Intermix, which is not returning this spring, was listed for lease last Friday. He expects an announcement will soon be made regarding new tenants there.
Meanwhile, Jeremey Tahari, 21, who earned his real estate brokerage license during Covid, and has been entrusted by his father to “run the family office,” finds himself flush with money from the sale.
“We’re acquiring as much real estate as we can. I have $60 million to $70 million buying power off this sale. We’re looking to deploy a couple hundred million dollars pursuing multifamily investment properties in Manhattan. I’m bullish on New York. I was born and bred here.”