The owner of the old Sears building and three smaller buildings adjacent to it has signed a contract to sell the properties to a developer with plans to construct a five-story apartment building on the site.

Riverhead Enterprises has agreed to sell four buildings to Georgica Green Ventures LLC for an undisclosed sum, Connie Lassandro, consultant to the developer confirmed this morning. Fully-executed contracts are in the developers hands and on their way back to the seller, she said.

“This is unequivocally the turning point for downtown Riverhead,” Lassandro said. “All the naysayers will be very surprised at what a vibrant town Riverhead is going to be.”

Preliminary plans call for an estimated 160 rental units on the second through fifth floors of the building, with retail shops on the first floor. There will be about 100 off-street parking spaces provided below ground, she said.

The apartments will provide much-needed workforce housing as well as market-rate housing, Lassandro said. With the exception of 10 percent of the units, as mandated by the state’s workforce housing act, they will not be low-income rentals, like Peconic Crossing, a 48-unti proposal made for the Long Island Science Center’s West Main Street site, she said.

“We’ve already done our market study.”

Lassandro said she could not yet give an estimate of when the project might be completed, but promised the developer would move “as quickly as they’ll let us,” she said, referring to reviewing agencies.

“Dave hits the ground running,” Lassandro said of developer David Gallo, principal in Georgica Green Ventures LLC.

Supervisor Sean Walter said he’s been working to bring Gallo and Gordon together for nearly two years. Two weeks ago, he was ready to abandon that mission and asked the town board to agree to exercise the town’s power of eminent domain to seize the properties and convey them to the prospective purchaser.  It was a controversial call that produced opposition from fellow town board members.

A few days later, Sheldon Gordon, principal in Riverhead Enterprises told RiverheadLOCAL he believed a deal was imminent.

“We’re way past the 11th hour in terms of getting this done,” Gordon said July 6. “If I were a betting man, I’d bet on it.”

Walter today was elated. “I’m truly excited about what this deal means for the future of downtown,” Walter said this morning. “This is exactly the kind of development that will move downtown Riverhead’s revitalization forward and it provides the housing we need for the workforce to sustain our local economy,” Walter said

“The block by block approach to redeveloping Main Street is paying huge dividends,” he said.

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