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Southampton selects developer for Riverside revamp

A sign welcoming drivers to Riverside, along Flanders

A sign welcoming drivers to Riverside, along Flanders Road in Riverside, a hamlet of Southampton Town, seen on May 11, 2013. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Southampton has selected a well-known master developer to revitalize Riverside, one of the town's most blighted hamlets.

Plainview-based Renaissance Downtowns, which has done work in Huntington Station, Hempstead and on the Nassau Coliseum Hub project, will coordinate the redevelopment.

"This starts to bring the community's long-awaited vision to fruition," Councilwoman Christine Scalera said last week.

She said Renaissance Downtowns has committed to opening a storefront in the area "right away."

Renaissance Downtowns is scheduled to present its proposal publicly on Thursday at the town board's work session.

"We're extremely excited," Renaissance Downtowns president and CEO Donald Monti said in an interview. "We've had our eyes on this for quite some time."

The main street, Flanders Road, is populated mostly by shuttered store fronts tagged with graffiti. A town committee has said it wants Riverside to have the look and feel of Sag Harbor or Greenport, Scalera said.

Earlier town plans have included a pedestrian bridge over the Peconic River linking Riverside to downtown Riverhead.

Monti said the prior work done by the town will be incorporated into the new process.

He also said his group would hold meetings and use social media to get community input on the development.

A town committee also reviewed proposals by VHB Engineering and Southampton Inn over three weeks. The Southampton Town Board unanimously selected Renaissance Downtowns Tuesday night.The contract, which has not been finalized, does not pay the developer directly for the work, Scalera said. Instead, the company will enter into other agreements with private property owners to make their return on investment.

The town will maintain control over the area's direction, but Renaissance Downtowns will oversee the marketing and day-to-day management of the revitalization, Scalera said.Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said in a statement that the selection "represents an exciting mark of progress in making the revitalization vision a reality."

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