A rendering of the proposed transit-oriented development project near the Riverhead...

A rendering of the proposed transit-oriented development project near the Riverhead train station envisions apartments, retail and commercial space, and a parking garage. Credit: Torti Gallas + Partners / RXR

Riverhead officials have chosen master developers to help revitalize the long-blighted lot surrounding the LIRR train station as part of a larger effort to boost the downtown area.

The town board voted 5-0 on Feb.15 to select Uniondale-based developer RXR and Jericho-based developer Georgica Green Ventures to create plans for the development of apartments and shops in the areas surrounding Osborne Avenue and Railroad Street.

The plan calls for the construction of 243 apartment units, 2,340 square feet of retail space, 12,800 square feet of commercial space and a four- to five-story parking garage with 420 to 520 spaces. Developers estimate the project to cost between $110 million and $125 million and take three years to complete.

The project will help breathe new life into the railroad station area, which has become rundown and prone to crime, said Dawn Thomas, the town’s community development director.

"If you take the train or the bus to Riverhead, that’s our front door," Thomas said. "The train station isn’t well-utilized, so it begs some reuse. It’s really about bringing investment and people into that area that has really been underutilized and blighted for many years."

RXR Realty will be the majority partner in the project, Joe Graziose, RXR’s executive vice president of residential development and construction, told Newsday on Friday. The project is expected to create roughly 400 temporary construction jobs and from 12 to 20 permanent jobs, Graziose said.

"Our goal is to bring vibrancy and connectivity between the TOD [Transit-Oriented Development], the bus depot area and the plaza we’re building, and create excitement to bring people into Riverhead," Graziose said.

The town board chose the proposal by RXR and Georgica out of six finalists.

Graziose said the town’s transit-oriented development committee raised several concerns regarding the project, including parking, safety, the size of the sidewalks, lighting and continuity in landscape and artscape. The developers addressed those concerns and made adjustments to the project design, Graziose said.

"We want to change the dynamics of the arrival experience, and the selection committee was very keen on that," Graziose said.

The town will negotiate an agreement with the developers, who will then submit a site plan application for the project. If no issues are raised, the developers are expected to obtain the approval within a year and then begin construction, Thomas said.

Graziose said he hopes to begin construction within 18 months.

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said redeveloping the train station area was an "instrumental step" in moving forward with revitalizing the downtown area.

Revitalization plans

  • The transit-oriented development plan in the areas surrounding Osborne Avenue and Railroad Street calls for the construction of 243 apartment units, 2,340 square feet of retail space and a four- to five-story parking garage with 420 to 520 spaces.
  • Developers estimate the project to cost between $110 million and $125 million and take three years to complete.
  • Riverhead was awarded New York State grant funding several years ago to create the plan, adopt new zoning and issue an RFQ (Request for Quote) for a developer for the project. The plan, in part, involves the town leveraging the train station surface parking lot for a new mixed-use transit-oriented development to transform the long-blighted area, according to Dawn Thomas, the town’s community development director.

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