By Konrad Putzier
An assemblage of commercial properties in Fire Island Pines is hitting the auction block Thursday.
The properties, which make up 80 percent of the resort town’s commercial district, will be auctioned off in bulk on January 22 by Maltz Auctions with a suggested opening bid of $8.5 million.
The current owners, Fire Island Pines Ventures, bought the property for a reported $17 million in 2010. The five lots include a hotel, a restaurant, shops and the storied nightclub Pavilion.
Fire Island Pines has been a popular holiday resort for gay men since the 1960s, when developer John B. Whyte bought the properties now being auctioned and began marketing the town as a party destination. Over the following decades, celebrities such as Calvin Klein, David Geffen and Hedy Lamarr spent time in Fire Island Pines.
In 2003, Whyte sold the properties to Eric von Kuersteiner, who then sold them to FIPV in 2010. The Huffington Post recently quoted Douglas Elliman broker Vinnie Petrarca as saying that the ”previous owners paid too much and borrowed too much. The onus of servicing the loan coupled with their inexperience resulted in a business where it was impossible to operate profitably.”