In 2006, Bill Campbell, former chairman of Visa International, bought a Bridgehampton landmark: a Greek Revival mansion built in 1842 for Judge Abraham Topping Rose. He's been working ever since to turn it into the Topping Rose House, a 22-room inn and 75-seat restaurant, headed up by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and stocked with produce from the inn's one-acre garden. Simon Critchell, former chief executive of Cartier North America, came in as co-owner in 2010; architectural design is by Roger Ferris & Partners, with interiors by Champalimaud.
Inquiring Minds columnist Cara Greenberg spoke with Bill Campbell on the verge of the restaurant's long-awaited opening.
So your project is finally coming to fruition. It's been eagerly anticipated...
Especially by me! It's been six years since I initiated the project, in a weak moment.
What made you undertake such a challenge?
I love it out there. I have a house in Water Mill, and wanted to spend more time there and be involved in operating a business.
When is the official opening?
It's very close, more like days than weeks or months, but it's up to outside parties to make sure everything is in place. It will be a soft opening, just the restaurant for a while. The kitchen has had its health inspection, but we're still waiting for some final approval.
When do you expect the inn to start taking guests?
We're going to open in two phases. In phase one, the two old buildings -- the barn and the house -- will be available. People will be able to look at some of the guest rooms, but there's still construction going on. The full opening of phases one and two will be early in the new year.
How many buildings are there all together?
There's the main house and the barn, which is old and has all been restored. In phase two, there's a contemporary building called the studio, where there will be a spa, small event space, three guest rooms, and a pool. Along the back line of the property are four cottages, each with a suite and outdoor space; that's new construction. All together, there will be 22 guest rooms and 7 suites, and we can do small conferences and meetings.
Do you have any designs on the Greek Revival mansion on the opposite side of the street?
That's owned by the Town, and trust me, one of these is more than enough. They cost a lot to renovate, as the Town is now finding out.
You brought in a partner in 2010.
Yes, Simon Critchell has been involved for about a year-and-a-half, through all the design and construction. He's a luxury goods guy and has very good taste.
Are you willing to divulge the amount you spent on the renovation?
Around $12 million, in addition to the $5 million for the land and old buildings. It would have been cheaper to knock them down, but that wasn't the object.