Riverhead Town has signed a letter of intent to buy two buildings on East Main Street, along with an option to purchase a third building, to foster the development of a new town square.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette M. Aguiar, the Riverhead Town Board and Director of Community Development Dawn Thomas announced the action in a press conference Thursday morning at the site of the former Swezey’s Department Store.

The town has signed a letter of intent to purchase 117 East Main Street, the site of the former Swezey’s Furniture Annex for $1.25 million and 121 East Main Street, the site of Twin Forks Bicycles, for $950,00 along with the option to purchase 127 East Main Street, the site of the Craft’D cocktail bar, for $2.65 million.

The Swezey's Home Furnishings building in downtown Riverhead, which could be demolished.
The Swezey’s Home Furnishings building in downtown Riverhead, which is slated to be demolished.

“Today, we are moving Riverhead forward and entering a
renaissance” said Ms. Aguiar. “Our vision of connecting East Main Street to the Riverfront, will be presented at a public hearing at town hall scheduled for July 21, 2020 at 2:05 p.m.”

Under former Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Riverhead Town had applied for consolidated state funding for the project totaling $4.6 million, with the town matching the funds to the tune of $1.45 million, in July of 2019.

In February of this year, Riverhead Town announced it had received an $800,000 grant from the state, while the Long Island Science Center received a $775,000 grant to redevelop the adjacent Swezey’s property as a new as a state-of-the-art science education center.

The state grants were awarded through the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.

“The town is expected utilize public private partnerships to leverage existing town owned property to complete the project,” according to the town’s announcement Thursday.

Calling the acquisition “a heart transplant,” Dawn Thomas, Director of Community Development, said the Revitalization and Town Square project will “create a public space for all town residents including family friendly activities and outdoor activities.”

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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