The third time will not be the charm for Pizza Hut in Riverhead.
An attorney for the property owner said the chain has asked to end its lease at the Route 58 traffic circle, where it operated for more than 20 years before being struck by vehicles twice in 14 months.
The restaurant has been closed since Sept. 17, when a 92-year-old driver from the Bronx drove over the curb and into the northwest portion of the building at about 1:51 a.m., while the restaurant was closed.
It had previously been hit on May 15, 2015, when an SUV that had been been involved in a three-car collision in the traffic circle jumped the curb and crashed into the restaurant’s northwest corner at about 4:20 p.m. Three people suffered minor injuries in that incident.
At the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Thursday, Michael Hartofelis, an attorney for property owner Bell Boulevard Realty LLC, said Pizza Hut will surrender its lease at that site and that an urgent care walk-in clinic called STAT Health is interested in taking the space.
“I’m actually negotiating a lease with STAT Health now,” Mr. Hartofelis said. “We’re very close to it.”
STAT Health currently has several locations in Suffolk County, including Cutchogue and Rocky Point.
Mr. Hartofelis said the lease on the Bell Boulevard property is “unbelievably pro-tenant and it’s a real stroke of luck that they asked to get out.”
“They were tired of people driving into their building,” ZBA member Leroy Barnes quipped.
Caption: The Riverhead Pizza Hut, following a Sept. 17 accident in which a car crashed into it. (Credit: Tim Gannon)