La Maison Blanche building for sale

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | La Masion Blanche is for sale for an asking price of $3.5 million.

The building that houses La Maison Blanche, the restaurant and inn whose owners are battling in court, is on the market for $3.5 million.

John Sieni purchased the building 27 months ago through his firm JBS Properties Inc. for $2 million, but has made substantial improvements, according to Shelter Island tax assessor Al Hammond.

While the property is currently assessed at $1.8 million, Mr. Hammond said it’s undergoing a reassessment based on the improvements and the assessment now on the books will go up.

Mr. Sieni emphasized it’s the building, not the business of La Maison Blanche, that’s for sale.

A pending lawsuit with Alistair MacLean, who managed La Maison Blanche until a recent split, wouldn’t stop the sale of the building, Mr. Sieni said. He maintained Mr. MacLean was fired as manager of the inn and restaurant, while Mr. MacLean countered that Mr. Sieni had no authority to fire him. Both men said they’ve been the public face of La Maison Blanche. Mr. MacLean said he had no intention of giving up the business.

“As majority owner in La Maison Blanche, I found it necessary to let Alistair MacLean go,” Mr. Sieni said last week.

Mr. MacLean responded that he’s still listed as a partner in the business on documents filed in Albany and on the liquor license.

“I’m still involved in the business and I’m still a member of the business,” Mr. MacLean said, responding to Mr. Sieni’s statement about having been fired.

Mr. Sieni said he’s not in any rush to turn it over to a new owner. His current plans call for him to continue to operate La Maison Blanche this summer.

“I will run it until the right buyer comes along,” he said.

“La Maison Blanche will be operating full service this season and improving services to even further our reputation,” he added, and expects many staff members to be returning this season.

“Everything is for sale at the right price.” Mr. Sieni said when asked why he’s selling. He called the hotel “an astonishing property in pristine condition” adding it’s a turnkey operation.

When JBS Properties purchased the building in 2011, it was with the intent of operating “one of the Hamptons’ best boutique hotels,” Mr. Sieni said.

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