It was just announce that most of the business spaces in the Fire Island Pines will be purchased by FIP Ventures, a group consisting of Seth Weissman, former CBS journo Andrew Kirtzman, and real estate developer Matthew Blesso.
Seems like we got most of the details right about Weissman, who is 26, and founded his own real-estate investment firm Weissman Equities.
Blesso, 36, one of Gotham magazines top 100 bachelors is the founder of Blesso Properties and has a beautiful, eco-friendly apartment in lower Manhattan (who is the hottie in the outdoor shower?) that cost $1 million to renovate. He is from Paterson, New Jersey and he got his start developing properties there. And don't go dreaming bout moving into that penthouse with him, boys. Blesso is straight.
Most interesting is Kirtzman, 48 a former NY1 political reporter who worked at WCBS in New York until April of 2008. He has since written a book about about the Madoff scandal. He got his start publishing the Fire Island Villager newspaper at 17 and has been running the high-end Madison House guest house in the Pines. He is married to ballet dancer Kyle Froman and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, also Weissman's alma mater.
Looks like the deal won't be finalized until March and that the company isn't going to talk about their plans for the venture until then. That makes sense as far as the sale is concerned, but might be disastrous for the season. Last summer things were tight in the Pines, with the recession and all, but many people were already locked into their rentals by the time the worst of it hit. This year, with the downturn still in full swing, rentals may be slower than ever. Couple that with the fact that everyone is uncertain about just what they'll be signing themselves up for and it could lead people to stick to the city, opt for another beach town, or (gasp!) defect to Cherry Grove, which may be scraggly in comparison, but is dependable.
Still, everyone's greatest fear was that The Pines would end up in the hands of some spoiled twentysomething party kid who had no clue what he was doing and no ties to the community. With his real estate background, Weissman isn't that at all, and with Kirtzman—already well-known in the community —on board things will definitely be easier dealing with the notoriously prickly Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association.
Here is the press release:
Investment group FIP Ventures has signed a contract to purchase the vast majority of commercial establishments in Fire Island Pines, the internationally-famous gay community.
The group is purchasing the assets of Pines Commercial Properties, including the famed Pavilion nightclub complex, the Blue Whale and Bay Bar restaurants, the Hotel Ciel, a grocery store, gym, clothing store and numerous retail outlets and residential properties. The deal is expected to close in March.
The FIP Ventures team consists of Seth Weissman, 26, a Pines summer renter and a managing partner of Weissman Equities, a Manhattan-based real estate investment firm; Matthew Blesso, 36, president of Blesso Properties, a developer of innovative high-end real estate in New York and abroad, and Andrew Kirtzman, 48, a veteran New York City journalist, author, Fire Island Pines homeowner and owner of The Madison Fire Island Pines.
The FIP Ventures team is a diverse group of highly-accomplished professionals whose combined experience will ensure the continuing success of the Fire Island Pines.
Blesso, a creative and socially-conscious developer, has garnered numerous design awards, including an American Institute Architects New York State Award of Excellence in 2009. "I'm thrilled our team is acquiring this storied group of assets. This purchase allows us to employ unique designs and concepts and build upon a great tradition," he said.
Kirtzman, the former host of "Kirtzman and Co." on WCBS-TV and "Inside City Hall" on New York 1 News, got his start in journalism as co-founder of The Fire Island Villager, which he began publishing at the age of 17. In 2007, he opened a high-end guest house in the Pines called The Madison Fire Island Pines.
"The Pines is both a chic international destination and a small town, with its own long-standing traditions," said Kirtzman, who has spent virtually every summer of his life in Fire Island. "We're intent on preserving the very qualities that make the Pines unique."
Weissman, named one of Real Estate New York's "Thirty Under Thirty" people to watch in 2008 and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said, "This is a community with some of the most accomplished, affluent and creative figures in the gay community. They demand a high level of services and amenities and we will give it to them."
Further details of the transaction and a description of the purchaser's plans will not be released until the acquisition is complete.