You’ve in all probability by no means heard of Robins Island, a teardrop-shaped islet half the scale of Central Park within the Nice Peconic Bay on the East Finish of Lengthy Island. However it might very nicely be essentially the most invaluable personal property in the entire Hamptons — and essentially the most untouchable.
Sandwiched halfway between the North and South forks, Robins Island is roughly 435 acres with miles and miles of waterfront.
For comparability, a 42-acre compound, lower than one-tenth the scale of Robins Island, with far much less waterfront, offered in Southampton this spring for near $145 million.
“If it have been simply uncooked land, I’d guess Robins Island could be value a couple of $100 million,” Corcoran’s Susan Breitenbach guessed, noting that she has by no means visited the island. “However relying on what’s on the market by way of infrastructure, it may be value from $200 million to $500 million.”
Satellite tv for pc photos reveal two giant property properties on the island, what seems to be a caretaker’s residence, a tennis courtroom, a dock and thick woodlands. Boats to the island depart from the North Sea Harbor in Southampton.
However the actual fact that space brokers, who make it their enterprise to know the ins and outs of the Hamptons’ greatest estates, are foggy on its constructions and facilities illustrates simply how thick the veil of thriller is surrounding Robins Island.
Requested by The Put up concerning the island, each the Sag Harbor harbormaster and a village policeman shrugged.
North Haven’s John Diat, 59, mentioned that the waters round Robins are famed for his or her fishing however he’s much less sure about what would possibly occur on the island itself. The retired media govt added that he’s heard about well-attended fowl hunts on the island.
“I heard that Jimmy Buffett was taking pictures there in November,” he mentioned.
A sailor in Montauk — wearing a darkish tan safari vest and trucker’s cap emblazoned with the phrase “CASH” — added that he has heard city legends about Robins Island.
“I don’t know if there’s any substance to it, however I used to be advised Captain Kidd buried treasure there,” the sailor, who requested to stay nameless, mentioned.
“That’s completely true,” mentioned Cutchogue resident Tonya Witczak, 46. “The proprietor simply gained’t allow you to over there to seek for it.”
That thriller “proprietor” is 64-year-old billionaire financier Louis Bacon, who bought Robins Island in chapter courtroom in 1993 for a mere $11 million.
Born to rich household in North Carolina, Bacon made his bones on Wall Road as an investor and hedge fund supervisor, beginning Moore World Investments in 1990 with $25,000 of household cash and turning it in to one of the crucial profitable hedge funds ever.
However whereas most masters of the universe are likely to take an curiosity in Hamptons actual property as soon as they’ve made their fortune, Bacon’s curiosity in Robins Island began again in his school days, when he labored on a constitution fishing boat out of Montauk and frequently sailed previous the island.
At the moment the island’s possession was below dispute — it had been below dispute for the reason that Revolutionary Battle, when it was seized from its Loyalist proprietor, Parker Wickham, by Patriot members of the Culper Spy Ring.
Almost 200 years later, in 1979 it was offered for $1.3 million to German buyers who tried to unsuccessfully flip it to everybody from Moroccan royalty to Donald Trump.
Within the late Nineteen Eighties, Suffolk County almost bought it to assist protect the land — which was one of many final largely undeveloped areas on the East Finish — however politics obtained in the best way of a deal.
Across the similar time in 1989, Wickham’s descendants sued to regain management of the island, which they claimed had been stolen from their household. These disputes allowed Bacon to swoop in to purchase Robins Island on a budget.
However in contrast to his friends, who’ve constructed out-of-scale, Bond villain-esque lairs within the Hamptons, South Florida, Beverly Hills or Aspen, Bacon gave his fortress of solitude to the birds.
In 1997, Bacon granted a conservation easement for many of the island to the Virginia-based world environmental group the Nature Conservancy, making Robins Island a protected wilderness space.
Extra just lately, the property was transferred to a household belief meant to endlessly forestall additional improvement.
It’s not the primary time Bacon has preserved insanely invaluable actual property. In response to the Moore Charitable Basis’s web site, the conservation philanthropist has “protected greater than 214,000 acres of land in perpetuity throughout the US,” together with granting conservation easements in his residence state of North Carolina (to guard the Cape Worry river watershed), Wyoming and Colorado. His Colorado donation of 167,000 acres on the Trinchera Blanca Ranch to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was the biggest it ever acquired.
However not all of Bacon’s land offers work out fairly so nicely.
He’s greatest recognized maybe for his mansion on the unique gated group of Lyford Cay within the Bahamas, the place he had a vicious, lengthy operating and really public feud with neighbor and disgraced vogue mogul Peter Nygård.
For greater than a decade the lads battled in courts from London to Los Angeles, exchanging lawsuits over improvement rights and defamation fits, together with accusations of drug trafficking, character assassination and even a soupçon of homicide.
The latter-day Hatfields and McCoys by no means did mend their faces, though ultimately Bacon’s basis is famed within the Bahamas for its work conserving the oceanic white-tip shark, whereas Nygård’s NYC headquarters have been raided final yr by the FBI earlier than he was formally charged with intercourse trafficking.
Immediately, Robins Island gives a secure haven for threatened native shorebirds, together with terns, piping plovers, sandpipers and oystercatchers. Ospreys flourish and not less than one pair of bald eagles are recognized to have mated on the island, whereas animals (the japanese mud turtle) and crops (seabeach knotweed) in any other case endangered could be seen thriving within the restored atmosphere on Robins Island.
Full-grown oak timber have been replanted to interchange ones beforehand harvested, grasses not native to the world have been eliminated and the herds of deer as soon as overrunning the island have been culled.
Whereas neither the notoriously press-shy Bacon nor his philanthropic Moore Charitable Basis would remark to The Put up, a spokesman did clarify that common searching events and movie star sightings on Robins Island have been not more than idle gossip.
The official phrase about Buffett, for example, is that nobody is aware of something concerning the king of the Parrotheads ever dropping by for a pleasant go to. Buffett’s representatives didn’t reply to requests for remark.
As for the true property worth of Robins Island — even in a Hamptons market that’s “uncontrolled” with “virtually nothing out there,” based on Breitenbach — neither Bacon nor his heirs will ever be capable of money in through improvement.
However don’t fear an excessive amount of about Bacon: he nonetheless has Captain Kidd’s treasure to fall again on.