Peconic Bay Medical Center is buying the 4.2-acre former Suffolk County National Bank site on West Second Street. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Peconic Bay Medical Center-Northwell Health is purchasing the downtown Riverhead campus of People’s United Bank.

The hospital is buying the 4.2-acre former Suffolk County National Bank site that stretches from Second Street to Railroad Avenue, including two office buildings, the branch building and a two-story home on Griffing Avenue.

The Second Street bank branch will remain open and operating under a lease agreement with the hospital.

PBMC-Northwell will begin moving staff into the former SCNB headquarters building right after Labor Day, PBMC president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said today. He estimated as many as 100 hospital employees will be temporarily located downtown while the critical care tower is constructed on the hospital’s main campus. The hospital and the bank have entered into a short-term lease pending consummation of the sale, he said.

View from Railroad Avenue of the former SCNB headquarters building, which was transferred earlier this year to People’s United Bank when the Bridgeport-based bank acquired Suffolk County National Bank. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The downtown campus will likely house physicians’ offices, he said. Final decisions on how the space — 60,000 square feet in all — is to be utilized will be based on a strategic planning process currently underway, Mitchell said.

“Given the growth going on at the hospital, with the addition of many new areas of specialties, we’re going through an assessment and developing a strategic plan for what we’re going to build out over the next three years,” Mitchell said.

The $60 million, three-story critical care tower now under construction at the hospital’s main campus will include a comprehensive cardiac care center with two cardiac catheterization suites, an electrophysiology suite, recovery rooms and an 18-bed intensive care/cardiac care unit. The new facility will also double the size of the hospital’s existing emergency department.

With neurology, neurosurgery and thoracic surgery — in addition to an extensive orthopedic surgery program, “the place is really taking off,” Mitchell said. “All of that creates demand for physician office practice space,” he said.

“This former bank campus will allow the medical center to bring much needed new programs and jobs to the East End and continue to position Riverhead as the regional medical hub for Eastern Suffolk County,” Mitchell said.

Howard Bluver, New York market president of People’s United, described the sale as “a win-win for everybody.” Neither Bluver nor Mitchell would disclose the terms of the sale, which is expected to close by the end of the year.

“For us it’s a nice transaction from a financial standpoint,” Bluver said. “More importantly it’s great for the East End and for downtown Riverhead in particular.”

Bluver, who was president and CEO of Suffolk County National Bank before it was sold to People’s United, said only about 15 bank employees are currently working in the three-story, brick and glass headquarters building on Second Street. Bank employees have been relocated to People’s offices in Hauppauge and Southampton and some have been moved to offices within the branch building, which served as SCNB headquarters before the new headquarters was built a decade ago.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, who had expressed hope that the town might buy the headquarters building for use as a new town hall, said the town was not in a financial position to bid on the property.

“This is a very good fit for the hospital as well as for downtown,” Walter said. “You’re going to have a whole lot more foot traffic downtown as a result of the hospital’s expansion.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.