An artist's rendering of the building under construction at the former Riverboat Diner site.
An artist’s rendering of the building under construction at the former Riverboat Diner site.

Construction crews broke ground in mid-August on the first new building to be constructed as part of the revitalization of the Southampton hamlet of Riverside, just south of downtown Riverhead.


Developer Paul Pawlowski of Mattituck plans to build an 8,000 square foot, two-story medical office building, which will also contain two workforce apartments, at the site of the former Riverboat Diner on the Riverside traffic circle, which had once been a Howard Johnson’s. 

The project is the first to be built under new zoning, the Riverside Revitalization Action Plan (RRAP), adopted by the Southampton Town Board in 2015.

“It is remarkable to be part of a development where the public and private sectors have the same goals,” said Mr. Pawlowski. 

“This is the start of a true transformation for this area,” said Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.  “Residents have been waiting for years for this moment and we know this will help revitalize the area.”

“For almost 20 years, the Flanders, Riverside, Northampton Communities Association has tirelessly advocated for the revitalization of the area around the Riverside Traffic Circle,” said FRNCA President Ron Fisher. “We are happy that work has begun on what is sure to be a beautiful new building and clock tower the community can be proud of.”

“The new Riverside will complement the resurgent downtown Riverhead creating a walkable, riverfront community on both sides of the Peconic River for all to enjoy,” said Vince Taldone, member of FRNCA.

Renaissance Downtowns, the master developer, selected by the Town of Southampton, worked with Mr. Pawlowski on this project.

“We are proud to give a voice to the people in the community, and are fully supporting developer participation; we are inviting everybody to invest alongside us,” said Ela Dokonal, the Vice President of Planning and Development for Renaissance Downtowns. “Our work is continuing and this is the first of many to come, changing the face of the community one building at a time.”

Suffolk County allocated more than $5 million for the redevelopment of the Riverside traffic circle, which is designed to improve traffic flow through this busy corridor.  

“With Governor Cuomo’s continued leadership and support, this groundbreaking marks the beginning of a longtime revitalization plan that will have great impact on the local economy,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.  “This new medical building will not only bring skilled employment to the area, but have longstanding effects within the entire community for both business owners and residents.”

Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming was a member of the Southampton Town Board when the RRAP was adopted, and along with Supervisor Schneiderman, who served in the County position before Fleming, helped get the funding for the traffic circle redevelopment. 

“I am thrilled to join in celebrating another important step in revitalizing a Rediscovered Riverside,” said Ms. Fleming. “The creation of 21st Century medical space will generate new job opportunities and continue to advance the Riverside economy.”

“I look forward to watching this community transform into an affordable and vibrant neighborhood where tomorrow’s workforce will want to live, work and raise their families,” said New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele. 

Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2019.

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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