Riverhead building department staff moves into ‘new’ HQ

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The rebuilt building department lunch room.

Riverhead Town’s building department staff members are back in their old offices after being temporarily relocated after a 2010 fire.

The Howell Avenue building that serves as building department headquarters, and which once was the town’s senior center, was damaged in an April 16, 2010 fire. Since then, the town has rented space on East Main Street for the department while work on restoring the old office took place.

The town hired Almas Construction for $403,000 in August to rebuild the building department, and that work is now done. Staffers moved in about a week ago.

The Town Board at one time considered building a two-story building to replace the building department office, but ultimately opted to just restore what was there already. The town does not plan to use the East Main Street rental any further.

“We’re cleaning up the rental across the street and then we’ll turn it back over to the landlord,” Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday. “We had a two-year lease and I think it’s up on the first of February or March.”

At some point in the near future, the town will get some extra space when it officially takes ownership of the former armory building on Route 58.

The state Legislature voted to give that building to the town last year and the town is merely waiting for the state to record the deed, which in this case is called a patent, Mr. Walter said. After that, it will be recorded by the town.

“We should get ownership of the building in the next 30 days,” Mr. Walter said.

How much work will need to be done to it before it can be used by the town has yet to be determined.

“We will have to issue a request for proposals from consulting architects to find out how much it will cost,” Mr. Walter said.

The town plans to move the police station and justice court over the armory, thus freeing up the building where those departments currently reside for other town offices.

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