Restaurant, retail space and apartments pitched for Love Lane

The new owners of the former Capital One building on Love Lane are planning a mixed-use future for the building that would include a restaurant, retail space and workforce apartments.

Business partners Charles Salice and Mark Miller, of Hard Corner Partners LLC, purchased the former bank building in December 2017. According to real estate records, the corner property was purchased from Capital One for $1.7 million.

The team presented their vision to approximately 40 residents during a Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association meeting Monday night.

The 17,500 square-foot space would be renovated to house a restaurant and three retail spaces on the ground floor and three workforce apartments on the second floor.

“It’s the right thing for Love Lane,” said co-owner Charles Salice in a phone interview Tuesday, since the street has become a destination with more vibrant eateries and shops that encourage foot traffic. Lumber and Salt, a vintage and antique furnishing brand, has been hosting a pop-up shop at the former bank location since May, offering a taste of what a permanent retail space could bring to the area.

A restaurant, Mr. Salice said, wouldn’t aim to compete with existing Love Lane merchants, but help make it more of a destination. Preliminary plans show roughly 50 seats with both indoor and outdoor courtyard seating.

“It’s flexible at this point, because we’re still working on flow and density,” Mr. Salice said.

The septic system is one of several challenges the business duo must face to move the project forward.

“If we were in Greenport and had a sewer system, half of these issues would be gone,” Mr. Salice said, pointing out that currently, the septic system could not support the apartments based on their property acreage and density ratio.

That leaves them with a plan B for the second floor: office space instead of apartments, which use more parking but less flow. Mr. Salice said it wouldn’t be the best use of the space.

“There’s a real need for [workforce housing] in the area,” he said.

Mr. Miller suggested a lease agreement with Southold Town — since they technically own portions of the lot used for municipal parking as well as the LIRR parking lot — in exchange for density and flow via Sanitary Flow Credits, which would need review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The Capital One branch that previously occupied that space was relocated to Main Road late last year.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell declined to comment until he had more details on the project.

Though preliminary plans have been submitted to the building department, the owners worry that town code and zoning will continue to limit their project plans.

Mr. Russell said that wouldn’t be clear until their application could be reviewed.

“We had asked the applicant to submit an application so we have a better understanding of the details. Generally, the concept of mixed use is consistent with the goals outlined in the Master Plan and several land-use studies of the hamlet centers over the years. It would be difficult to determine what hurdles may exist until a building permit is applied for. That plan would identify proposed uses in the context of the current code and things like scope and scale,” Mr. Russell wrote in an email Tuesday.

But the backers think it’s worth it.

“We think it’s one of the best locations to do a mixed-use project for the town to further enhance Love Lane,” Mr. Salice said. “I’m not a marathon runner, but I’m going to go the distance.”

Charles Gueli, who recently took over as president of MLCA, said he hopes the building’s new owners can accomplish their goal.

“I believe that the mixed use they propose would be a benefit to the community,” he said.

Photo caption: The former Capital One building on Love Lane could become a restaurant. (Credit: Tara Smith)

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