Strong family purchases Matt-A-Mar property

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04/23/2013 5:33 PM |

His family has been in the boating and marina business near Great Peconic Bay dating back almost 50 years, but in completing a major acquisition that opens up access to a new market and a new waterway, Long Island Sound, Jeff Strong spoke with pride about amenities that have nothing to do with water.

We’re talking Adirondack chairs and a fire pit.

Last week, shortly after the Strongs became the new owners of the former Matt-A-Mar Marina near the southern end of Mattituck Creek on Wickham Avenue, employees found a few chairs and placed them near the water, facing west. The Strongs sat back, sipped wine and watched the sunset.

Their new business, known as Strong’s Water Club & Marina, will continue to offer boat dockage, a saltwater pool and a restaurant — all long part of Matt-A-Mar. But a larger grouping of chairs will soon be scattered about a two-acre grassy area so others can take the time to watch the sun sink below the horizon, perhaps to the sound of a jazz quartet.

“We’re excited,” Mr. Strong said. “It’s a big undertaking and a big commitment, no doubt about it. But it should be fun.”

He declined to discuss the cost of the 8.75-acre property, other than saying “it was expensive.”

The previous owners, Monica and Michael Raynor, acquired the marina 10 years ago for $2.5 million. The Raynors also owned Matt-A-Mar on the Bay in New Suffolk, the waterfront property now controlled by the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund.

Mr. Strong said the purchase has been in the works for the past six to eight months.

“We’ve known the owners for a while,” he said. “We live near there and just driving by it every day we got the sense that maybe they wanted to do something different, so we reached out to them.”

Ted Webb, who worked for Village Marine for 20 years, is the new general manager.

In the past Matt-A-Mar had offered pool memberships, but the Strongs plan to expand that to water club memberships that also offer access to the other amenities, including a beach volleyball court, kayaks and paddleboards.

An on-site hospitality concierge will arrange golf outings, wine tastings and other recreational activities, Mr. Strong said.

The restaurant building that’s been empty since A Touch of Venice moved to Cutchogue will eventually reopen, said Mr. Strong, “whether it takes us two months or six months.” The family has been interviewing potential tenants, he said.

Plans also call for the addition of an outdoor tiki bar.

Read more in Thursday’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

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