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Herrmann’s Castle site on the market

Where do dreams go to die? For one man, it might be a hillside overlooking Crescent Beach and the bay.

Zach Vella, who purchased Herrmann’s Castle, the startling, otherworldly residence near the Pridwin that was demolished two years ago, has decided to sell the property. The asking price is $4 million, according to the Corcoran Group’s listing on its website.

Seth Madore, handling the listing, said neither he nor Mr. Vella will comment about the sale.
Finally razed in November 2017 after Mr. Vella won approval for a modern structure, replacing what neighbors had described during hearings as Walter Herrmann’s “eccentric” and “deteriorating” property.

Mr. Herrmann, a German immigrant who came to the United States to establish a contracting firm, built the iconic structure in 1973. He and his wife, Ingrid, conceived the original structure as their fantasy of a Bavarian chalet with a commanding view of Peconic Bay.

But the structure became a shell, empty for years, a crumbling image on the hilltop with twisted metal railings shifting in the breeze. Plywood panels were on the ground floor to keep out curiosity seekers. For several years, there were continuing Town Hall debates about what to do with the Castle.

Enter New York City-based real estate developer Mr. Vella, who had plans for renovation. An original design for the new house was introduced in 2012 by his architect, Guillermo Gomez, who outlined plans for the more than 3-acre site. Those plans called for modernizing the original structure, creating a two-bedroom second story over an existing garage and adding a tennis center with indoor courts and a balcony from which to watch games.

Zoning Board of Appeals members pushed back on the amount of development on the site and had concerns about the two-bedroom structure being eventually turned into a separate area of living quarters.

An approval with many restrictions was granted, but no work got underway.

It would be awhile before Mr. Vella put a new team in place, including architect Barbara Corwin, who brought another design to the table. Ms. Corwin won approval from the Town Board for a two-story structure to replace the original Castle, but it still had to go to the ZBA for variances.

Session after session, Ms. Corwin made suggested changes to the plan, but always wanted to add a viewing area atop the two stories.

When the ZBA finally gave its go-ahead on the project, Mr. Vella’s team had to return to the Town Board to get approval for a viewing room that the architect said was critical to the Vella family.

In late November two years ago, the Castle met the wrecking ball. And then — nothing. Until the site was put on the market.

JENNIFER STEELE PHOTO Herrmann’s Castle demolition two years ago.