The former Woolworths Building in downtown Riverhead.
The former Woolworths Building in downtown Riverhead.

The owners of the former Woolworth Department Store in downtown Riverhead are looking for tenants for the 19 new workforce houseing apartments in the recently renovated building.

The department store, which was built in 1951, went out of business in 1997 and was shuttered until new owners Woolworth LLC purchased the property last year. The new Maximus Health fitness club and Goldberg’s Famous Bagels have opened in the the 25,000-square-foot first floor of the building, and one 2,000-square-foot storefront is still for lease.

The second floor, which was used by Woolworth for storage, is expected to be renovated as apartments within the next six weeks, with apartments available for rent in December or January. The project is slated to cost around $7.5 million, according to Woolworth LLC managing partner Michael Butler.

Rental applications will be accepted through a lottery administered by the Long Island Housing Partnership, and are due on Oct. 30.

Three of the apartments will be reserved for households earning at or below 50 percent of the HUD Area Median Income, eight will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the HUD Area Median Income and eight  will be affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent of the HUD Area Median Income. Those income levels vary based on the size of a family, and are available on the developers’ website, or by calling the Long Island Housing Partnership at 631.435.4710.

Rents will start at $895 for studios, $1,133 for one bedroom and $1,528 for two bedroom apartments.

“I am proud that we were able to take an historic property that was vacant for more than a decade and that had become an eyesore in the middle of the downtown historic district, and return it to productive use,” said Mr. Butler. “We have done our best efforts to return the historic look of the frontage of the building as a 1950s commercial building, including construction of a custom metal canopy to match the original.”

Woolworth, LLC. has been consulting with the New York State Historic Preservation Office to
ensure that the historic nature of the building is protected and enhanced.

The project has received $550,000 in federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME funds administered by Suffolk County, $250,000 in Suffolk County Workforce Housing capital funds to offset infrastructure costs and $75,000 in New York Main Street funds through the Office of Community Renewal used to enhance the façade of the building.

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

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