The three buildings the town plans to buy on the south side of East Main Street, where it will create a town square, pictured here in November 2019. Image: Google Maps

Riverhead Town is planning to spend nearly $5 million to purchase three large buildings on the south side of East Main Street in the heart of the downtown district.

A resolution is on the Community Development Agency’s agenda Tuesday afternoon to authorize a public hearing on the purchase of two of the buildings and an option contract for the third.

The contiguous properties, located at 117, 121 and 127 East Main Street are owned by Riverhead Enterprises, a major downtown property owner for many years. The owner has agreed to the terms of the sale of two of them and an option contract on the third building, according to the resolution.

The town is looking to acquire the three properties for the creation of a town square in the center of town, which will consist of a public gathering space, pedestrian walkways and open vistas to connect Main Street to the Peconic Riverfront.
Riverhead was awarded an $800,000 Regional Economic Development Council grant in December for the town square project. The town is seeking other grant funding as well.

The site at 117 East Main Street is currently vacant. It was once occupied by Swezey’s Department Stores and in recent years has from time to time been occupied by the Riverhead indoor farmers market. The owner has agreed to sell the property to the town for $1.25 million, according to the resolution on Tuesday’s agenda.

The single-story building at 121 East Main Street is occupied by Twin Forks Bicycles. Riverhead Enterprises has agreed to sell the building to the town for $950,000.

The town has negotiated a six-month option to purchase the two-story building at 127 East Main Street for $2.65 million. The town will pay $50,000 for the option. The 127 East Main Street building has existing tenants: a new pub, Craft’d, occupying one of its ground floor spaces and a spa occupying the other. It also has tenants occupying offices on the second floor.

The town board, sitting as the governing entity of the Community Development Agency, plans to schedule a July 21 public hearing on the prospective purchases of 117 and 121 East Main Street and the option contract for 127 East Main Street.

The building at 117 East Main Street adjoins the future home of the Long Island Science Center on the west, at 111 East Main. West of that is a building owned by a developer planing to build a multistory apartment building.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar sent out a press release this evening announcing a press conference at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow “to discuss the advancement of the Riverhead Town Square and Downtown Revitalization goals.”

The press conference will take place in the parking lot behind 117 East Main Street, just prior to the town board work session scheduled for 10 a.m.

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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.