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News-Review: Suffolk Theater seeking tax breaks, hearing today

Downtown Riverhead, Suffolk theater, first event
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | People packed the ‘new’ Suffolk Theater’s first-ever event in September. The event was designed to bring arts and business leaders together.

The Riverhead Industrial Development Agency will hold a hearing today on a request for tax breaks to help finish the restoration of the Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead.

That hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Riverhead Town Hall.

Suffolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi said the cost of renovating the theater, which he purchased from the town in 2005 for $707,000, has exceeded the amount he anticipated, and the work is only about 80 percent done.

The IDA resolution puts the value of the work yet to be done at $1.57 million.

Mr. Castaldi is seeking to have the tax assessment on the project remain at its current level for 10 years, according to IDA director Tracy Stark-James. He also seeks sales tax exemptions on building materials and an exemption on paying mortgage recording tax.

Mr. Castaldi hopes to reopen the theater as a performing arts center by New Year’s Day. It has not operated as a movie theater since 1987.

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