The two-acre site of the proposed redevelopment, bordered by Osborn Avenue on the west, Court Street on the south, Cedar Street on the east and Railroad Avenue on the north.

Updated Oct. 4, 8:45 a.m.: The Riverhead Town Board yesterday voted unanimously to designate joint master developers of the Railroad Avenue transit-oriented development project, RXR and Georgica Green Ventures, a qualified and eligible sponsor under the State Urban Renewal Law.

Original story:

The Riverhead Town Board is expected to vote today on whether to deem the master developers of the proposed transit-oriented development project near the Long Island Rail Road Station a qualified and eligible sponsor of the project.

The Town Board held a hearing last week with the joint master developers, RXR and Georgica Green Ventures, where the firms made the case for their eligibility during the presentation. The hearing is required under New York State Urban Renewal Law for the town to sell or lease property it owns in the area. 

MORE COVERAGE: Developers planning Railroad Ave. revitalization project make their case for being ‘qualified and eligible’

The Town Board’s passage of this afternoon’s resolution designating RXR/GGV qualified and eligible sponsors — as both the Town Board and the governing body of the Community Development Agency — would authorize the execution of a master development agreement between the developer’s and the town, the next step in the process to spur development in one of Riverhead’s most blighted areas.

The developers have proposed building a four- and five-story, mixed-use building with 243 apartments, and “podium” parking on an internal portion of the ground floor, lined by perimeter uses on the two-acre, town-owned parking lot between Court Street and Railroad Avenue. 

Additionally, they proposed building a mixed-use, multi-level building with 36 workforce apartments, 332 public parking spaces and retail shops on a county-owned parking lot on Griffing Avenue.

During the hearing, RXR/GGV representatives gave examples of work on similar projects and outlined their plans to finance the total project cost of approximately $135 million. 

Riverhead’s rules and procedures for making a determination that a proposed purchaser or lessee is a qualified and eligible sponsor, last amended in June 2017, establish the following criteria:

  • experience of the individual, firm or corporation with development, construction, management and financing of similar projects in size and scope to the proposed project;
  • demonstrated ability to finance the acquisition and development of specific project proposed including the review by the CDA of pro forma financial statements for the proposed project, including sources and uses of funds, certified personal and corporate financial statements of the applicant sponsor, financial commitments of participating lenders, proposed security for the project, business plans and economic analysis of the project and past compliance with municipal laws, rules and regulations.
  • demonstrated integrity and responsibility of the applicant sponsor as determined by the CDA based upon appropriate investigation by the Town Attorney and consistent with case law as reiterated in the Memorandum to Supervisor Phil Cardinale and Town Attorney Dawn Thomas dated March 12, 2004 from Randolph Mayer, Willkie Fair Farr & Gallagher, LLP;
  • presentation of the applicant sponsor to the public at the prescribed hearing upon due notice at a public meeting of the CDA providing an opportunity for the applicant sponsor to present its proposal and ability to meet the established criteria for designation by the CDA as a “qualified and eligible” sponsor pursuant to Section 507 (2) (c) of Article 15 of New York State General Municipal Law.”

During last week’s hearing, developers filed letters with the town clerk from lenders interested in financing the project and those that they are currently working with or have previously worked with; the companies’ chief financial officers to demonstrate the ability to supply private equity to the project and certifying the strong financial position of the firms; and recommendations from politicians and leaders of municipal agencies from municipalities that the groups have had successful public-private partnerships with.

A business plan or economic analysis of the project, certified financial statements, financial commitments of participating lenders, nor proposed security for the project were filed with the clerk, according to the documents obtained via Freedom of Information Law.

The developers would acquire the town-owned site on Railroad Avenue for $7.29 million, under a draft of the town’s master development agreement. The Town of Riverhead would then obtain the Suffolk County property on Griffing Avenue, part of which will be transferred to the developers for development of the mixed-use space. The other part of the property will be retained by the town as the public parking structure.

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