New Sound View owner: ‘Plan is to embrace and enhance what we purchased’

Erik Warner Sound View Inn Greenport

In his first media interview since purchasing the iconic Sound View Inn and Restaurant in Greenport, Eagle Point Hotel Partners co-founder Erik Warner told The Suffolk Times customers won’t notice too many changes to the waterfront property in 2016. 

So what exactly does the future hold? That remains to be seen, he said.

Eagle Point, which closed on the purchase of the entire 5.5 acre property Monday, hopes to reopen for the season “as soon as possible.”

The enterprise had been in the Levin family since 1953 when Jack and Donna Levin built the 10-room Sound Shore Motel. In 1968, the couple purchased the neighboring Sound View restaurant and have expanded the businesses over the years with the addition of 35 motel rooms and a banquet room. In recent years, the two businesses have been operated by the Levins’ daughters, Rachel Murphy and Ellen Wiederlight.

The sisters announced the sale on social media Tuesday afternoon.

Soon after, Mr. Warner, who declined to discuss the sale price, shared his ideas for the property and a bit of his company’s history.

The Suffolk Times: What are your plans for the Sound View property?

Erik Warner: For at least 2016, we are going to operate it as it is with upgrades in areas like bedding, pool furniture, etc.

ST: Do you have any plans for construction on the property?

EW: No reconstruction at this time. We need to better understand the community and how the Sound View fits into the community. The experience we have over the next year will help us to understand what direction we should go with the property. The macro plan is to embrace and enhance what we purchased … Not to do too much to take it too far from what it is today. Our management company, Filament Hospitality, is brilliant at creating wonderful hospitality experiences.

ST: What happens with the existing staff?

EW: We have hired most of the staff back — we have a great team. Should be many similar faces when we open.

ST: What attracted you to the North Fork and this property in particular?

EW: We are attracted to the people and culture of the North Fork. There is nothing like the North Fork anywhere and the experience we ultimately create will embrace what we love.

ST: Do you have any other properties in the area?

EW: We do not, but we are looking at others.

ST: Tell us a little bit about your company’s history.

EW: We are a young company that was started over five years ago to invest in hotels where we found opportunity to create value. The value that we are creating ultimately sits with the experiences we create for our guests, employees and community. The better the experience for those groups, the better the experiences for our guests.

ST: How did you personally get into this business?

EW: As a child I had many interests and when the day came to pick a college there were no colleges that had degrees with all of my interests — allowing me to study real estate, finance, food and beverage, design, operations — except for a handful of colleges with degrees in hotel management. I chose Cornell University’s school of hotel administration. It was the best place to learn and a great experience. In order to manage or own a hotel, one needs to have knowldege and skills in all of those areas, and that was the degree for me. The rest is history.

ST: Does your company typically deal with existing infrastructure or do you look to build?

EW: We like to find properties that have history and a sense of place. We want to ultimately create an experience that allows our guests to walk away from their stay at the Sound View and have an emotional connection to what we create. Having those two criteria are two of several key ingredients to how successful we will be.

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