The Town of Riverhead today closed on the purchase of the West Second Street site that will be the new Town Hall, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar announced this afternoon.
The closing on the $20 million deal took place in the supervisor’s office.
“This Town purchase will allow for the much-needed expansion of Riverhead’s Police Department, the Town Justice Court, and enhance services to our community,” Aguiar said in a press release.
The site, originally developed by Suffolk County National Bank, includes a three-story, 36,000-square-foot office building, a two-story office building, a bank branch currently leased to M&T Bank and a two-story wood frame house at 214 Griffing Avenue that has been converted to office space. It also includes a large parking lot on the corner of Railroad and Roanoke avenues, which has more than 160 spaces, and would provide additional municipal parking in the downtown area.
The town plans to relocate and consolidate offices now spread among three town-owned properties, including: town council and town supervisor, town clerk, tax receiver, tax assessors, building and planning, code enforcement, town attorney, accounting, community development, human resources, purchasing, information technology, and town historian. The new Town Hall will also include a meeting room.
Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation and other PBMC offices will relocate from the Second Street building to other offices on the hospital’s Riverhead campus, including a building on the former McGann-Mercy property that’s currently being renovated for office use.
“We expect transitioning to commence in three months and the full transition to occur by the end of this year,” Aguiar said.
Once offices are relocated from the current Town Hall to Second Street, Riverhead Justice Court will be moved from the building it shares with the Riverhead Police Department at 210 Howell Avenue to the adjacent Town Hall building. The Riverhead Police Department will then expand its headquarters to occupy the entire building a 210 Howell Avenue.
Firm estimates of the cost of renovations required to complete the relocation of the town’s justice court and renovations to police headquarters have not yet been publicly discussed.
The Town Board on Aug. 1 authorized bonding to fund the $20 million purchase, as well as an additional $1.5 million to fund improvements needed to renovate the site for the town’s use. The bonds have not yet been issued, Riverhead Town Financial Administrator William Rothaar said. The town used “idle cash” to pay the purchase price, he said. The town plans to sell a bond anticipation note to replenish those funds at the end of next month, Rothaar said. The note will come due in one year and can be renewed for a year and replaced by a long-term bond if the the town doesn’t have funds to pay it off.
“We didn’t want to commit to a bond just yet because we don’t know where the next year or two is going to bring us,” Rothaar said.
The town used the same procedure for purchasing the property for the town square in May 2021. It issued bond anticipation notes in August 2021 to cover the purchase of three buildings for $4.85 million. The town renewed those notes in August 2022.
The sale of the Second Street campus will provide Peconic Bay Medical Center with cash to help PBMC expand its medical infrastructure and services to the community, including expansion of women’s health and ambulatory services, according to PBMC Executive Director Amy Loeb. PBMC Foundation purchased the Second Street property in 2017 for slightly less than $11.5 million.
“We thank the Peconic Bay Medical Foundation for working and partnering with us on this much needed effort in our community,” Aguiar said.
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