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Downtrodden Bankers No Longer Compelled To Moderate Their Summer Fun

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For a while, Joe Farrell must have been worried that he might have trouble keeping his in-house ATM (not a euphemism) full of $10 bills. He must have feared he’d never break ground on more than a handful of 10,000-square-foot stucco-clad beachfront palaces at any one time. He must have despaired over whether he’d ever get more than a half-mil a summer for his own home, modestly dubbed The Sandcastle.

But there is relief for Joe Farrell—and, indeed, for McMansion builders everywhere—in this, the most conclusive piece of anecdotal evidence that Wall Street’s long, inconvenient moderately bad dream is over.

There is no surer sign that the big-spending ways that characterized the pre-financial crisis era have returned to the Hamptons than the blue “Farrell Building” signs multiplying across the pristine landscape here, along with the multimillion-dollar houses they advertise. It is a process some are calling “Farrellization,” and not necessarily happily.

“We’re as busy as we’ve ever been,” said Joe Farrell, the president of Farrell Building, during a recent interview and tour of his $43 million, 17,000-square-foot home here. The estate, called the Sandcastle, features two bowling lanes, a skate ramp, onyx window frames and, just for fun, an A.T.M. regularly restocked with $20,000 in $10 bills….

With a customer base composed largely of Wall Street financiers, Mr. Farrell has more than 20 new homes under construction, or slated for construction, at a time, making him the biggest builder here by far. He has plans for more, many of them speculative homes built before they have buyers.

He said the going rate to rent his own home was around $500,000 for just two weeks; last year’s tenants were Jay-Z and Beyoncé. He also helped arrange a $900,000 summer rental for the hedge fund manager Marc Leder, who has since drawn scrutiny from Southampton authorities — and gossip writers — for boisterous parties that draw an endless stream of black S.U.V.’s….

Local Porsche and yacht sales are climbing once again, and Pink Elephant reopened this summer in East Hampton offering Methuselah (six-liter) bottles of Dom Pérignon for $30,000. It is not just a novelty; the club’s co-owner David Sarner said Pink Elephant had sold “a few” this season, and many more “trains” of smaller Dom Pérignon bottles for as much as $8,000. “It was a bit lean for a couple of years in the Hamptons,” Mr. Sarner said in an interview, acknowledging that the term is relative. “There’s this at least perception that we’re doing a lot better than perhaps we were, so people are freer to spend money because they’re being psychologically conditioned with the highs in the market.”

Hamptons McMansions Herald a Return of Excess [NYT]
Return of the McMansion [WSJ]