Riverhead Town has officially entered into contract to purchase the Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation’s Robert Entenmann Campus on Second Street, where Riverhead Town Hall will eventually be relocated.
Supervisor Yvette Aguiar made the announcement Wednesday, about four months after first revealing plans to buy the property at 4-6 West Second Street in downtown Riverhead, which, in July, she said would be about $20 million. The exact figure was not provided in Wednesday’s statement.
“Officially entering into contract, brings us one step closer to finally realizing the entire Town Board’s goal of establishing a new, modern Town Hall,” Aguiar said in a statement.
Aguiar also says the acquisition will make town hall central to the town’s overall revitalization plan, while Peconic Bay Medical Center is reinvesting the sale proceeds into expanding the emergency department, women’s health services and further ambulatory expansion.
“We are thrilled to be of assistance to the town and offer the property for sale. In turn, this new venture will enable us to expand our medical infrastructure and services to the community,” said Amy Loeb, Executive Director of Peconic Bay Medical Center.
While the closing date is not clear, Aguiar says the transition is expected to begin within three months. Officials expect it to take approximately one year to complete.
Riverhead Town Not Just Buying a Building
In July, the Riverhead supervisor signed a letter of intent to buy the 4.2-acre property at 4, 5 and 6 West Second Street and 214 Griffing Avenue, which offers four structures, including a 36,000-square-foot, three-story building currently being used for the hospital’s executive offices. That building is in move-in-ready condition featuring modern, corporate offices and a downstairs kitchen.
Moving town hall to 4 West Second Street will solve a myriad of problems that have plagued the town for the better part of two decades. It will consolidate Town Hall, currently spread out across four properties, while also freeing up room in the current main Town Hall building on Howell Avenue for the Riverhead Town Justice Court, which has long been criticized for cramped, unsafe quarters, including staff working out of portable trailers.
The justice court, currently at 210 Howell Avenue, will be relocated to the current Town Hall and the Police Department will expand their offices and remain at their current location.
Meanwhile, the new town hall at 4 West Second Street will provide a meeting room, as well as office space for the following departments, including the tax receiver, town clerk, assessor, code enforcement, building and planning, human resources and more. The supervisor, council members and the town attorney’s office will also have offices in the building.
Meanwhile, the cost of the acquisition will be offset by income the town stands to collect. People’s United Bank leases the building at 6 West Second Street for an annual rent of $200,000.
In addition to the main building and the People’s United Bank building, the complex includes a two-story annex building to the west, which could be leased out, as well as a house with historical value, which Aguiar is hoping to restore and make the town historian’s building. There are also 300 parking spaces.
In 2020, the Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation bought the shuttered Mercy High School, a 24.8-acre property, from the Diocese of Rockville Centre for $14 million.
As the hospital develops its plans for the former school property, it will need permits from the Town of Riverhead.