Montauk’s Westlake Marina, a family-owned and operated business for nearly 60 years, has been sold.
The Montauk Harbor mainstay, at 352 West Lake Drive, is home to 14 charter fishing boats, around 100 fixed or floating dock slips, a house, a store, and the Westlake Fish House restaurant and bar.
The buyer is Hildreth Real Estate Advisors, which according to the Traded NY platform paid $14 million. It is “our 14th successful acquisition in the Hamptons and our first-ever marina,” according to a statement from the group, and “we are excited to continue its operations with the same level of commitment and excellence.” In Amagansett, Hildreth Real Estate Advisors previously acquired the 136 Main Street and contiguous 11 Indian Wells Highway parcels in Amagansett’s commercial district. (An article on a development proposal for those properties appears elsewhere in today’s paper.)
Chris Miller and his sister, Tanya Miller Rade, said this week that their decision to sell the marina came only after long reflection. “The two of us are getting older, and we don’t have the same energy level,” Ms. Miller Rade said.
“It’s a lot of work,” her brother added. “As much as we love the business, we just feel like life is short, we’re feeling our mortality a bit, we want to have a new chapter in life, and don’t want to be tied down to the business. As owner-operator, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication. There’s more out there in the world for us to experience.”
They acknowledged the changes in Montauk over the last several years, as many longtime “mom-and-pop” businesses have been acquired by corporations amid the hamlet’s exploding popularity, but “it has nothing to do with that,” Mr. Miller said. “We love the town. We love Montauk. We understand and accept the changes that Montauk is going through. We feel sad about letting it go. It was a difficult decision for us.” Some of their customers have known them since they were children, the siblings said.
They are not retiring, however: The family still owns the smaller Land’s End Marina, also on West Lake Drive. Mr. Miller is also a part-time commercial fisherman, as is Ms. Miller Rade’s husband.
Their father, Edward Miller, bought the property in 1962. He sold the business in 1987 but five years later reacquired it in a foreclosure, Ms. Miller Rade said. “When he purchased it, there was only the main fixed dock, the restaurant building, and the house/residence building,” she said. He made many improvements to the property over the years, she said, and expanded the marina by adding three floating docks. Edward Miller died in 2010.
The staff will remain under the new ownership, the siblings said. “We can also say that the new owners have all good intentions to keep the business as a traditional, iconic Montauk fishing marina,” Mr. Miller said. He and his sister will serve as consultants during the transition.
“Everyone is very excited to keep Chris’s family tradition alive,” said Jeff Sztorc of the Compass real estate firm, who with Hal Zwick represented the buyers. “It’s an amazing place.” Mr. Sztorc and Mr. Zwick have advised both buyer and seller “about keeping the character of Westlake Marina,” with no major changes imminent, Mr. Sztorc said. “They might do slight improvements in the future, but it’s going to remain a Montauk mainstay.”