Plans to build a five-story hotel and restaurant in downtown Riverhead moved forward after the town council voted 5-0 Thursday to grant a site plan approval to the project.

Under the project, Ronkonkoma-based developer J. Petrocelli Development Associates would convert The Preston House, built by local Civil War hero Henry Preston in 1902, into a hotel.

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While the plans were previously approved, according to Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, the board needed to amend the site approval with the provision of installing a traffic light at the intersection of East Main Street and Ostrander Avenue, which was recommended by the state Department of Transportation.

Once the developers submit the blueprints to town officials, they will be eligible to receive their building permit. According to Walter, the developers have indicated that they intend to start construction in December. 

“I’m positive that they’re planning to break ground before the end of the year,” Walter said.

The building of the hotel, Walter said, would be a “great addition” to Riverhead’s downtown area.

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“Downtown Riverhead has two downtown hotels, there’s not many downtowns that have even one hotel. It’s amazing what’s happening,” he said.