The beach house with gabled windows and watch tower on Dune Road overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from Tiana Beach once served as a U.S. Coast Guard Life-Saving Station manned entirely by African-Americans.
After those glory days were over, in the late 1980s, the property transformed into Neptune’s Night Club where dee-jays saved a social life or two, spinning records through long, balmy summer nights into early 2013.
Now, five years after the music stopped, new life has been breathed into the former life-saving station as the property undergoes a $963,300 stabilization and exterior restoration by the Town of Southampton.
So far, all of the non-historic rooms, which were added by Neptune’s former owners, decking, and reproduction windows, have been razed. The building’s walls have been reframed and new electric service has been added. The building has been prepped for new cedar shingle siding, as part of an exterior restoration, the chimney has been restored, and the building’s crowning glory, its watch tower, has been installed, once again, to the top of the building.
“The rest is not complete,” said McLean and Associates’ Matthew Jedlicka, who is the town consultant coordinating the restoration project.
Second phase work still to come includes the installation of the windows, custom built doors for the boat room, and all cedar siding on the exterior. The roof must be completed and outside decking with two ramps, which will lead up to the boat room.
This phase is expected to be completed during the summer.
“There will be a final phase to finish everything inside,” Jedlicka said.
The intent is that the full project will be completed by summer 2019, and from there, Jedlicka expects the building will be used as a museum. It will have a public restroom, and “some sort of food access,” with a seating area on the deck, though not like a restaurant, he said. He could not be sure what kind of food service town officials have under consideration.
“A window maybe, similar to other beaches, but I don’t know if their plan is that big,” he added.
The former life-saving station was purchased under the Community Preservation Fund for $3.2 million in March 2014, according to Town Community Preservation Manager Mary Wilson.
Neptune’s was one of two Dune Road nightclubs that were a constant source of residents’ quality-of-life complaints, regularly keeping police and code enforcement occupied over the summer, especially on weekends.
The second club, the former Summers Night Club, down the road in Hampton Bays, which was purchased, though not with CPF money, houses an activity center run by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department.