From the NY Post:
In the summer of 1998, Ken Hilderbrandt was contemplating buying a bigger boat — or a beachfront trailer on a wave-swept bluff in Montauk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
“There was a [for-sale] sign on the window, rotted off,” Hilderbrandt, 85, told The Post, recalling the dilapidated trailer sitting on a 1,972-square-foot lot of land within Montauk Shores, the former seaside campsite for working-class vacationers, locals and surfers. Hilderbrandt, who owns a jet-ski rental business in Bellport, saw the potential. Sure, it was a fixer-upper off a dirt road — but the million-dollar ocean views pulled him in like a riptide. The asking price was $150,000.
“I said, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ It was old. It needed to be gutted. I took a look inside, walked out here with him and said, ‘I’ll make you an offer — for $95,000.’ He said, ‘I want $96,500.’ So that was it,” Hilderbrandt said. He sold his boat and purchased the trailer.
“Back then, you could rent them for $50 a month,” he said. A decade later, he tore down the trailer and erected a two-bed, two-bath modular home with a wraparound porch, marble countertops and laminate floors, investing around $100,000 in the remodel. Today, his humble 1,200-square-foot abode could command $60,000 as a three-month summer rental, enough to send one of his grandkids to college, he told The Post. He said he won’t even consider selling the property for under $5 million.
Though it bills itself as “Montauk’s best kept secret,” 65-year-old trailer park Montauk Shores is now a shabby-chic status symbol that’s dividing the local community. Hilderbrandt may drive a reliable Honda — but you’re just as likely to spot a Mercedes SUV parked here. Deep-pocketed buyers are being lured in by its location in Ditch Plains — a surfer’s paradise spanning two miles of sandy cliffs and the most coveted waves on Long Island’s East End. This week, The Post reported that an off-market listing for an 800-square-foot oceanfront trailer located on Edgewater Drive was in contract to sell for a record-breaking $3.75 million.