The building at 31 McDermott Avenue was felled today by wrecking crews. Photo: Peter Blasl

Demolition has begun at the future site of Riverview Lofts, the five-story, mixed-use development planned for the corner of McDermott Avenue and East Main Street.

Demolition crews today razed the two-story building on the south side of the site, which formerly housed Peconic Bay Apparel, a couple of small offices and a second-floor apartment. The rest of the building, where Owen Swift Antiques had been located, was the only part of the structure still standing on the riverfront property late this afternoon.

The Riverview Lofts site encompasses two separate properties that together stretch from Main Street to the riverfront.

The former McCabe’s Stationery/Dinosaur Walk building, which fronts on Main Street, is yet to be demolished.

The building at 31 McDermott Avenue last month. File photo: Peter Blasl

Georgica Green Ventures LLC of Jericho has obtained final approvals for the development, consisting of 116 rental apartments above ground-floor restaurant and retail uses.

The apartments are all “workforce” rentals, with most reserved for people making no more than 60 percent of the area median income. The development will include 31 studios, 57 one-bedroom and 28 two-bedroom apartments. Rents will range from $1,000 and $1,250 for the studio apartments to between $1,434 and $1,800 for the two-bedroom apartments.

The site plan provides for 55 on-site parking spaces, which sparked criticism by downtown business owners and others complaining about parking problems in the downtown business district. The property is located in the parking district and, as such, is not required to provide any on-site parking at all.

The approval by the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency of a 30-year partial tax abatement for the development also touched off considerable controversy. According to IDA counsel Richard Ehlers, the total value of the abatement over 30 years will be $2,352,750. The property owner will pay $6,093,433 in total PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) and special district taxes over that period of time, Ehlers said.

Construction is expected to start this spring on the $57 million project

Section of rendering by architect Stephen Jacobs .

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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.