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05/20/17 6:00am
05/20/2017 6:00 AM

It’s a tight squeeze for drivers on a portion of Main Street in Greenport Village, especially when there’s a car traveling in the opposite direction.

Village officials are looking to change that with a major road project they expect to authorize this week.

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12/04/14 11:50am
12/04/2014 11:50 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH | The Long Island Science Center would move if apartments get built.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH | The Long Island Science Center would move if apartments get built.

A five-story apartment building planned for the Long Island Science Center site went from market-rate “luxury” apartments to “workforce housing” affordable apartments earlier this year.

The plans have now seen another change. (more…)

11/04/14 4:57pm
11/04/2014 4:57 PM
Portions of Moores Lane in Greenport will be repave prior to winter. (Cyndi Murray photo)

Portions of Moores Lane in Greenport will be repave prior to winter. (Cyndi Murray photo)

Village Board members approved up to $120,000 in spending to repave two roads in Greenport prior to the winter.

The board voted 5-0 during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to pave portions of Moores Lane, as well as a small portion of Main Street from Bridge Street to First Street. (more…)

10/08/14 2:00pm
10/08/2014 2:00 PM
Michael Butler, managing partner with Woolworth Revitalization, LLC, said Riverhead has "all the components."

Michael Butler, managing partner with Woolworth Revitalization, LLC, said Riverhead has “all the components.” (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Michael Butler and his wife launched an environmentally sustainable eco-lodge in the Costa Rican rainforest 13 years ago, so opening 19 units of affordable housing on East Main Street in Riverhead doesn’t seem quite as daunting.

“That’s why this doesn’t seem as crazy, right?” he said

The Sag Harbor resident and co-founder of Playa Nicuesa in Central America is about to open up applications for apartments at downtown’s former Woolworth building, which was purchased a year and a half ago by Woolworth Revitalization LLC for over $2 million.

Mr. Butler, managing partner of Woolworth Revitalization LLC, hopes the units will be ready for occupancy by the end of the year.

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The apartments, for which a lottery will be held, are the second large investment in recent years in Riverhead’s downtown stock of housing, in particular work force housing. Peconic Avenue’s 52-unit Summerwind Square is 95 percent full at this point, according to its developer, Ray Dickhoff.

“It’s got all the components,” said Mr. Butler, pointing to downtown. “The river is great. Even if you look at the time since we’ve been here, the bike shop has opened up. This nice place across the street, Vines and Hops, has opened up. You can see things happening.”R1009_Woolworth2_BE_C.jpg

After its interior was gutted, new drainage tanks were installed and a new roof put in place, the former Woolworth building welcomed its first tenant, Maximus Health & Fitness, in May. Goldberg’s Famous Bagels followed in mid-August. Mr. Butler said 2,000 square feet of commercial space fronting Main Street are still available for rent there.

Expected to cost about $7.5 million in total, the project received $800,000 in federal and county grants, as well as tax abatements granted by the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency.

Mr. Butler explained Tuesday that those subsidies — which will keep rents affordable and stable for tenants — make the up-front capital costs worth it.

“That’s why these programs exist,” he said. “If you’re doing a project like this, and doing it right, these programs make it worthwhile. The new roof alone cost $250,000.”

The project isn’t the only new housing in the works for downtown. On Monday, the developers of Blue River Estates, a 48-unit apartment complex planned for West Main Street, informed the IDA that it would proceed as an affordable housing project instead of the market-rate units originally proposed.

Applications for the Woolworth building units will be processed through the Long Island Housing Partnership, which will verify applicants’ income statements and conduct the lottery, as well as market the property. Eligible applicants’ annual earnings must between 50 and 80 percent of Long Island’s median household income.

The nonprofit housing partnership is playing a similar role for Avalon Court in Melville, New Village in Patchogue and other developments.

Jennifer Appel, the organization’s general counsel and program advisor, said it has received two applications since starting to market the Woolworth property last week. The deadline for lottery applications is Oct. 30. Applications for any apartments still available after the lottery is held will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Visit woolworthapartments.com for application information.

Caption: The retail spaces on the first floor of the Woolworth building. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

03/02/14 1:00pm
03/02/2014 1:00 PM
The corner of Roanoke Avenue and East Main Street downtown. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The corner of Roanoke Avenue and East Main Street downtown. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Sixty-nine percent of people say they eat out when they are in downtown Riverhead and 42 percent say they walk along the river.

Those were among the results of a Downtown Riverhead Revitalization Survey to which 812 people responded last fall as part of a study of the downtown area. The survey was conducted in conjunction with a $610,000 Brownfi elds Area Opportunity (BOA) grant the town received from New York State to explore ways to improve traffi c and redevelop a section of Main Street stretching from West Main Street near Forge Road to East Main Street near Fairway Avenue.

The Riverhead Town Board discussed the study at its Thursday work session with representatives from consulting fi rm Nelson Pope and Voorhis and Sustainable Long Island, which are working together on the study.

“This input will help defi ne a vision statement for the study area and provide input for redevelopment scenarios,” said Amy Engel, executive director of Sustainable Long Island.

The study includes a recommendation to make Peconic Avenue a north-only road leading into downtown Riverhead.

In addition to eating and walking along the river, the survey, delivered mostly online, listed a number of other choices people could make in completing the sentence, “When in downtown Riverhead , I usually …” Those options included going shopping, selected by 39 percent, according to Ms. Engel, attending outdoor events (38 percent), going to a pub or tavern, visiting attractions and visiting family or friends (28 percent each) and attending live music or theater (22 percent).

When asked what they wished there were more of in downtown Riverhead, the respondents’ top answer was “unique shops,” at 65 percent, followed by cafes or coffee shops (54 percent), entertainment (50 percent), restaurants (43 percent), family-friendly activities (41 percent) and better sidewalks and paths (37 percent).

A footbridge over the Peconic River, something Southampton Town officials are working on for Riverside, was mentioned by 26 percent of the respondents.

Thirty-fi ve percent said they usually spend between $20 and $50 when they’re in the downtown area, while 30 percent spent between $50 and $100 and 16 percent spent more than $100.

And what do they spend that money on? Meals was the top answer, at 86 percent, followed by snacks or beverages at 48 percent, merchandise, at 46 percent, and admissions, at 26 percent.

So just who are these 812 survey respondents? Fifty-three percent were residents of Riverhead hamlet. Of the total, 22 percent said they are in Riverhead every day and 20 percent said they are in Riverhead about once a week, Ms. Engel said. Forty-eight percent of respondents are between 35 and 54 years old; 40 percent were older than 55.

The BOA grant survey also looked at census information from River-head and neighboring areas.

That data revealed a median household income of $50,824 for 2013 in the Riverhead Census Designation Place, which runs roughly from Osborn Avenue and Mill Road on the west to County Road 105 on the east.

People within what the survey called a “primary shopping area” — those within a 15-minute drive of downtown Riverhead — had a median household income of $73,440 for 2013. Those within a “secondary shopping area” — a 30-minute drive, but also including all of Southold and Shelter Island towns — had a 2013 median income of $79,587.

“I think Riverhead has a lower median income now for a different reason than it did in the past,” Supervisor Sean Walter said. “Now, I think the median income is low because we have a large senior citizen population and they are on a fi xed income.”

The BOA study also identified some types of businesses that the Riverhead area needs, including specialty food stores, book and music stores, furniture stores, auto parts stores and fl orists.

“Riverhead is unique, so the traditional retail gap analysis of the 15- and 30-minute drive time may not tell the whole picture,” consultant Charles Voorhis said. “One of the reasons spending is high is because you have Route 58.”

Mr. Voorhis said Route 58 provides things customers “need” while downtown has the opportunity to provide things costumers “want.”

Offi cials said town plans to hold the fi rst of two open house forums on the BOA study later this month to get more feedback from the public. The consultants hope to have a second public forum in the fall to release their recommendations.

[email protected]

05/03/13 5:00pm
05/03/2013 5:00 PM
Papa John's in Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Craig Viana, owner of Viana Signs of Oceanside, installing a Papa John’s sign Friday morning at the East Main Street location.

Papa John’s Pizza will be coming soon to downtown Riverhead.

Franchise co-owners Sean LaValle of Selden and Alfred Fico of Manorville are just awaiting the OK from the Suffolk County health department and are hoping to open May 16, about a week before the busy Memorial Day weekend.

The business partners chose Riverhead because, they found, a lot of people in the area know about Papa John’s but never tasted the product, Mr. LaValle said.

Mr. LaValle is familiar with Riverhead, having graduated from Mercy High School in 1984.

The two have hired staff for the storefront but are still looking to hire delivery drivers. The delivery jobs pay $9 an hour and $1 per pizza delivered, plus tips.

The shop is located in the same building that houses aBlue Duck Bakery Cafe and a Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices.

There are about 4,200 Papa John’s franchises in every state in the U.S. and 35 countries, according to the pizza company’s website.

[email protected]

11/30/12 2:31pm
11/30/2012 2:31 PM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Jerry Romano of 4Wall Entertainment tests out the theater’s new spotlights.

February 2. That’s the date that those behind the transformation of Riverhead’s Suffolk Theater, originally a Depression-era movie palace, say the restored entertainment center will make its grand public debut.

The long-awaited project, which in recent years has failed to meet multiple completion deadlines, is indeed coming together, said owner Bob Castaldi. Construction crews were busy installing a radiant heating system in the Main Street building Friday and concrete is expected to be poured for the floors in a week’s time, he added.

“It’s going really fast now,” Mr. Castaldi said.

When the construction is done the sloping floor will be replaced with level terraces, a design permitting a dinner theater business.

Earlier in the fall the theater set an opening date of New Year’s Eve. Production director Jim Vignato said he remains confident the project’s completion is not far off.

“The fact that we’re here is proof,” he said. “We’re rocking and rolling now.”

Read more about this story in next week’s The Suffolk Times.