07/01/13 8:00am
07/01/2013 8:00 AM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | The Orient Point Lighthouse in Plum Gut is once again being auctioned off by the federal General Services Administration.

Orient Point Lighthouse is on the auction block … again.

Following a failed attempted by the U.S. General Service Agency to sell the historic lighthouse last year the department has once again opened the property for bidding.

Built in 1899, the cast iron lighthouse, also known as the “Coffee Pot” lighthouse, is located just off the tip of the North Fork in Plum Gut. The building stands 45 feet tall and boasts three stories of living quarters and two watch decks, according to the GSA listing.

The agency first attempted to auction off the lighthouse last summer, with plans to sell the property to the highest bidder within two months. The closing date was later postponed to September of that year. Despite the extended deadline, the auction did not result in a sale.

“It’s not uncommon,” said GSA spokesman Patrick Sclafani. “People say, ‘Wow. I can buy a lighthouse!’ But once they inspect it, they realize they may not have the resources to maintain the property.”

Such was the case with the East End Seaport Museum, which was considering purchasing the lighthouse before determining it did not have the financial resources to back the deal.

Nine parties bid in last year’s Orient Point Lighthouse auction, with the highest bid coming in at $100,000.

Comparatively, the offer was well below the sale price of Little Gull Island, which sold for $381,000 last October. Connecticut resident and businessman Fred Plumb bought the one-acre island in the Long Island Sound, which is one of home to an historic lighthouse. Mr. Plumb has yet to announce plans for the property.

The second round of bidding on the Orient Point Lighthouse opened on June 1. So far the highest bid is $10,000, according to GovSales.com. Bids are being accepted in $5,000 increments.

Under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act, the would-be-owners would not be permitted to tear down or make any major changes to the structure. They would also be required to allow the U.S. Coast Guard access to maintain the light.

“Our hope is that if a private owner gets it, they will reach out to conservation groups and maintain it the right way,” Mr. Sclafani said.

The GSA has not yet set a closing date for the bidding.

[email protected]

09/22/12 11:55am
09/22/2012 11:55 AM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | A Cross Sound Ferry vessel passes by the Orient Point Lighthouse on it’s way to Connecticut.

The Orient Point Lighthouse, also known as the “coffeepot” light, just off the tip of the North Fork in Plum Gut, is a fixed aid to navigation, but the the federal government’s deadline for would-be buyers to submit purchase bids keeps shifting like the tide.

The federal General Services Administration began the auction last summer and initially planned to sell the lighthouse to the highest bidder within two months. But last week, the GS announced on its property auction website, http://realestatesales.gov, that the auction would end Sept. 17.

The closing date was since been moved to Sept. 20 and then extended to just before noon today, Saturday. The GSA indicates that another extension is possible. Nine bids have been submitted to date, with the highest at $100,000. The East End Seaport Museum was initially interested in seeking ownership but determined it did not have the required financial resources.

Whoever purchases the structure must allow the U.S. Coast Guard access to maintain the light.

The lighthouse is made of cast iron and is partially filled with concrete. It stands 45 feet tall with three stories of living quarters and two watch decks, according to the GSA.

09/08/12 4:00pm
09/08/2012 4:00 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | The Orient Point Lighthouse in Plum Gut is being auctioned off by the federal General Services Administration, but local lighthouse preservation organizations don’t have the money to buy it.

The federal General Services Administration is still looking for a buyer for the Orient Point Lighthouse, the black and white striped, cast iron-plated tower that warns mariners of the underwater rocks on the western side of Plum Gut.

The GSA first announced its plan to sell the lighthouse, which stands on a tiny, rocky island less than half a nautical mile from Orient Point, last summer.

At the time, members of the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation, which had just merged with East End Lighthouses, said they were interested, but the project has since proven financially untenable for them.

“We looked at it, we visited it and met with the GSA, but it’s just too much for our budget,” said East End Seaport president Ron Breuer,

The GSA has received five bids on the property. The most recent, for $30,000, came in Aug. 27.

GSA spokesman Patrick Sciafani confirmed this week that the auction of the property is still open and not yet scheduled to close.

The 45-foot-tall lighthouse was built in 1899 on a concrete-filled cast iron caisson, according to the bid specifications on the GSA’s auction website, realestatesales.gov. It has six levels, including two watch decks and three stories of living quarters.

The eventual owner will need to allow the U.S. Coast Guard access to maintain the light and fog signals, as well as solar panels and batteries.

GSA is also looking to sell the one-acre Little Gull Island, seven miles east of Orient Point and directly east of Plum Island.

The light station at Little Gull Island, established in 1869, contains a sound signal that blasts every 15 seconds.

There have been two bids on Little Gull Island, the most recent for $60,000.

Prospective owners can place their bids on the GSA’s website.

[email protected]