A long-vacant medical building on the corner of Osborn Avenue and Court Street is slated for demolition and a five-story, mixed-use building would be built in its place if plans before the Riverhead Town Board gain approval.
The multimillion-dollar development proposal, by far the biggest private investment in a blighted area the town has struggled to revitalize for decades, is the first major project to come before the town board under the Railroad Avenue Overlay District adopted by the board on Jan. 5. It would redevelop a site that has been an eyesore on a heavily trafficked street that serves as an entryway to Riverhead’s State Supreme Court complex on Court Street and Griffing Avenue.
The new building would provide 39 apartments above ground-floor office and conference rooms, according to town documents. The building will also have a 688-square-foot rooftop patio area for use by residents.
It is the second development in Riverhead by G2D Group of Huntington, which is currently building a four-story mixed-use building with 36 market-rate apartments on the south side of East Main Street, opposite Union Avenue.
Greg DeRosa, CEO of G2D Group and attorney Chris Kent are scheduled to meet with the town board at today’s work session. The new overlay district puts site plan review in the purview of the town board rather than the planning board.
The planning department has prepared a resolution designating the site plan application a Type I action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act and requesting lead agency in a coordinated review among involved agencies, according to a staff report prepared by Riverhead Planning Aide Greg Bergman.
The site plan shows a total of 35 parking spaces on site, four fewer spots than required by the town code, Bergman wrote. The applicant is seeking to opt-in to the Riverhead Parking District to provide parking for nonresidential uses on the site, as allowed by the overlay district. According to G2D Group’s website, the ground floor will be developed with coworking spaces.
G2D operates WorkSmart Spaces which provide furnished, flexible work spaces, with digital, IT and other services for members. The company has a location in Hicksville, with new locations planned in Huntington, Huntington Station and at the Osborn Avenue site in Riverhead.
The reduction of four on-site parking spaces is “not significant,” according to the staff report, which cites nearby public parking in a municipal lot across the street, in another lot on Griffing Avenue and on Railroad Avenue.
The site plan as proposed would require six variances from the zoning board of appeals for smaller than minimum setbacks from property lines, required tree plantings and vegetative buffers and building accent lighting types, the staff report states.
About the Railroad Avenue Overlay District
The intent of the Railroad Avenue Overlay District is to “foster a traditional downtown character” in a long-blighted neighborhood by developing mixed-use buildings to provide “a 24-hour presence” from high-density residential uses “at an intensity similar to that of the DC-1 Main Street District where feasible and at a scale that is suitable for the property size,” according to the code adopted this year. The area has been a designated urban renewal area since 1997.
The overlay district is located in the DC-3 zoning use district, which was adopted as a result of the 2003 comprehensive plan. But the DC-3 district did not result in significant investment in the area, according to town officials. The overlay provides additional development options and increased densities on eligible sites — a minimum lot area of 20,000 square feet is required — if the developer opts to take advantage of it. Among them are additional as-of-right uses and increased development densities for qualifying properties
It stretches from Roanoke Avenue on the east to Sweezy Avenue on the west. It is, for the most part, bounded on the south by West Main Street and on the north by Lincoln Street (and the railroad tracks west of Osborn.)
The overlay district was adopted Jan. 5 pursuant to a strategic transit-oriented development plan commissioned by the town in 2018 and adopted in October 2020. The plan was prepared by Nelson Pope and Voorhees, the consulting firm that prepared a prior study of the downtown Riverhead area for Riverhead’s submission to the state’s Brownfields Opportunities Areas program.
The site proposed for the G2D Group’s development is owned by AKA Holdings LP of Syosset, which took title to the property in April 1996.
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