Former Mill Creek Inn could be site of new restaurant

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | The former Mill Creek Inn restaurant and Marina building near Southold.

Plans are under way to revitalize the former Mill Creek Inn restaurant and marina property between Southold and Greenport on Route 25, where another restaurant was built but never opened.

A group calling itself Mill Creek Partners bought the property this past summer and is seeking permits to finish the building shell constructed by Richard Principi, an Amagansett builder who purchased the property about six years ago.

One of the partners, Cutchogue builder Eugene Burger, and architect Nancy Steelman, gave a brief presentation to the Town Planning Board Monday afternoon. They have not yet submitted a formal site plan for review.

Ms. Steelman said Mr. Principi “ran out of funds to finish the project,” after which it was sold to Silverstone Property Group. That group transferred title to Mr. Burger in June for $2.47 million.

Ms. Steelman said the original building was demolished in the middle of the night and the current structure went up “without permits for anything but the foundation.”

The building department issued a permit for the first floor of the two-story building, she said, and told the applicants to apply for a permit for the second story after they received Planning Board approval.

“The stipulation was we could only use the ground floor until site plan approval,” she said.

Mr. Burger said he expects a new restaurant will occupy both floors. The former Mill Creek Inn had an apartment and storage space upstairs.

In September the Town Trustees said yes to replacing a crumbling bulkhead between the restaurant and the marina, but the Trustees decided to forgo reviewing the request to legalize the 50 boat slips until after the site plan is completed.

The building’s interior is little more than exposed wall studs and it has no heat or insulation.

“We’re trying to take a fresh approach to the interior,” said Mr. Burger.

The property covers 3.27 acres, but 1.3 of those acres are under water within the marina’s boat basin. Ms. Steelman estimates the business will require 50 parking spaces for the marina and another 90 for the restaurant. Currently there is room for only 56 spaces.

“This is our big concern,” she said.

Mr. Burger said he’s negotiating to buy an adjacent parcel for parking.

Members of the Planning Board jokingly suggested that if Mr. Burger can’t buy the land next door, he buy the former Hollister’s Restaurant parking lot across the street.

Planning Board members seemed pleased with the proposal.

“It’s a great project for the town,” said board member Don Wilcenski. “Good luck with it.”

Read more from the Planning Board in Thursday’s issue of The Suffolk Times