You’ve most likely by no means heard of Robins Island, a teardrop-shaped islet half the dimension of Central Park in the Great Peconic Bay on the East End of Long Island. But it could very effectively be the most respected private property in all of the Hamptons — and the most untouchable.
Sandwiched halfway between the North and South forks, Robins Island is roughly 435 acres with miles and miles of waterfront.
For comparability, a 42-acre compound, lower than one-tenth the dimension of Robins Island, with far much less waterfront, offered in Southampton this spring for near $145 million.
“If it were just raw land, I’d guess Robins Island would be worth about a $100 million,” Corcoran’s Susan Breitenbach guessed, noting that she has by no means visited the island. “But depending on what’s out there in terms of infrastructure, it might be worth from $200 million to $500 million.”
Satellite photographs reveal two massive property properties on the island, what seems to be a caretaker’s residence, a tennis court docket, a dock and thick woodlands. Boats to the island depart from the North Sea Harbor in Southampton.
But the actual fact that space brokers, who make it their business to know the ins and outs of the Hamptons’ greatest estates, are foggy on its constructions and facilities illustrates simply how thick the veil of thriller is surrounding Robins Island.
Asked by The Post about the island, each the Sag Harbor harbormaster and a village policeman shrugged.
North Haven’s John Diat, 59, mentioned that the waters round Robins are famed for his or her fishing however he’s much less sure about what would possibly occur on the island itself. The retired media govt added that he’s heard about well-attended chicken hunts on the island.
“I heard that Jimmy Buffett was shooting there in November,” he mentioned.
A sailor in Montauk — dressed in a darkish tan safari vest and trucker’s cap emblazoned with the phrase “CASH” — added that he has heard city legends about Robins Island.
“I don’t know if there’s any substance to it, but I was told Captain Kidd buried treasure there,” the sailor, who requested to stay nameless, mentioned.
“That’s totally true,” mentioned Cutchogue resident Tonya Witczak, 46. “The owner just won’t let you over there to search for it.”
That thriller “owner” is 64-year-old billionaire financier Louis Bacon, who bought Robins Island in chapter court docket in 1993 for a mere $11 million.
Born to rich household in North Carolina, Bacon made his bones on Wall Street as an investor and hedge fund supervisor, beginning Moore Global Investments in 1990 with $25,000 of household money and turning it in to one in all the most profitable hedge funds ever.
But whereas most masters of the universe are inclined to take an curiosity in Hamptons actual property as soon as they’ve made their fortune, Bacon’s curiosity in Robins Island began again in his faculty days, when he labored on a constitution fishing boat out of Montauk and repeatedly sailed previous the island.
At that point the island’s possession was below dispute — it had been below dispute since the Revolutionary War, when it was seized from its Loyalist proprietor, Parker Wickham, by Patriot members of the Culper Spy Ring.
Nearly 200 years later, in 1979 it was offered for $1.3 million to German buyers who tried to unsuccessfully flip it to everybody from Moroccan royalty to Donald Trump.
In the late Eighties, Suffolk County practically bought it to assist protect the land — which was one in all the final largely undeveloped areas on the East End — however politics received in the method of a deal.
Around the identical time in 1989, Wickham’s descendants sued to regain management of the island, which they claimed had been stolen from their household. Those disputes allowed Bacon to swoop in to purchase Robins Island on the low cost.
But in contrast to his friends, who’ve constructed out-of-scale, Bond villain-esque lairs in the Hamptons, South Florida, Beverly Hills or Aspen, Bacon gave his fortress of solitude to the birds.
In 1997, Bacon granted a conservation easement for many of the island to the Virginia-based world environmental group the Nature Conservancy, making Robins Island a protected wilderness space.
More just lately, the property was transferred to a household belief supposed to endlessly forestall additional improvement.
It’s not the first time Bacon has preserved insanely beneficial actual property. According to the Moore Charitable Foundation’s web site, the conservation philanthropist has “protected more than 214,000 acres of land in perpetuity across the United States,” together with granting conservation easements in his residence state of North Carolina (to guard the Cape Fear river watershed), Wyoming and Colorado. His Colorado donation of 167,000 acres on the Trinchera Blanca Ranch to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was the largest it ever obtained.
But not all of Bacon’s land offers work out fairly so effectively.
He is greatest identified maybe for his mansion at the unique gated neighborhood of Lyford Cay in the Bahamas, the place he had a vicious, lengthy working and really public feud with neighbor and disgraced style mogul Peter Nygård.
For greater than a decade the males battled in courts from London to Los Angeles, exchanging lawsuits over improvement rights and defamation fits, together with accusations of drug trafficking, character assassination and even a soupçon of homicide.
The latter-day Hatfields and McCoys by no means did mend their faces, though in the finish Bacon’s basis is famed in the Bahamas for its work conserving the oceanic white-tip shark, whereas Nygård’s NYC headquarters have been raided final year by the FBI earlier than he was formally charged with intercourse trafficking.
Today, Robins Island gives a protected haven for threatened native shorebirds, together with terns, piping plovers, sandpipers and oystercatchers. Ospreys flourish and at the least one pair of bald eagles are identified to have mated on the island, whereas animals (the jap mud turtle) and vegetation (seabeach knotweed) in any other case endangered may be seen thriving in the restored atmosphere on Robins Island.
Full-grown oak bushes have been replanted to interchange ones beforehand harvested, grasses not native to the space have been eliminated and the herds of deer as soon as overrunning the island have been culled.
While neither the notoriously press-shy Bacon nor his philanthropic Moore Charitable Foundation would remark to The Post, a spokesman did clarify that common searching events and superstar sightings on Robins Island have been not more than idle gossip.
The official phrase about Buffett, for example, is that nobody is aware of something about the king of the Parrotheads ever dropping by for a pleasant go to. Buffett’s representatives didn’t reply to requests for remark.
As for the actual property worth of Robins Island — even in a Hamptons market that’s “out of control” with “almost nothing available,” in keeping with Breitenbach — neither Bacon nor his heirs will ever have the ability to money in through improvement.
But don’t fear an excessive amount of about Bacon: he nonetheless has Captain Kidd’s treasure to fall again on.