The Southampton Town Board is considering spending millions of dollars in preservation funding to buy a portion of the once-proposed Tuckahoe shopping center, in part to assure the project would not go through, an official said.
The town is eyeing the purchase of a 7-acre section of the Magee Street property that was a source of community controversy for six years.
Property owner Southampton Venture LLC had applied to build a 38,000-square-foot supermarket and 14,500 square feet of commercial space off County Road 39. But the project was effectively killed in April when the company dropped a bid to obtain a zoning change needed to move forward.
Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the potential $4.5 million purchase of one of three parcels composing the Tuckahoe proposal would take the shopping center “off the table.”
“It will be officially dead with this acquisition because the land that was needed to build the supermarket will no longer be available,” Schneiderman said Monday.
The purchase would likely be used to create a park and be funded by the Community Preservation Fund, of which the town receives about $60 million annually, Schneiderman said. The fund is generated from a 2 percent tax on real estate transfers in the five East End towns — Southampton, East Hampton, Shelter Island, Riverhead and Southold.
Lance Nil, a partner in the Tuckahoe project, was not available for comment Thursday.
Schneiderman said town officials have been working with the property owner “to figure out what would be better for the community” on the parcels, including exploring creating an assisted living facility.
Frances Genovese, a Tuckahoe resident who opposed the shopping center proposal, said “the neighborhood is certainly happy” about the potential purchase because residents “were on alert” that the owners may try to develop the project in another way.
“The joke was it was a vampire application because it didn’t die,” Genovese, 78, said of the proposal’s various changes over time.
A public hearing on the purchase is set for Nov. 14 at Town Hall.