New medical center opens on Roanoke Avenue

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Dr. Paayal Mehta (center), a bariatric surgeon, gets help from town board members John Dunleavy and Jodi Giglio at the grand opening reception for the new 5,700 square foot medical building on Roanoke Avenue.

With a vaulted ceiling and crystal chandelier in its foyer, granite floors and rich wood trim throughout, Peconic Management Group’s new medical building on Roanoke Avenue looks more like a Gold Coast country club facility than a Riverhead doctor’s office.

Its owners, Dr. Paayal Mehta and Dr. Richard Rubenstein, both bariatric surgeons, received tax brakes from Riverhead Town, but they spared no expense when it came to designing, constructing and decorating the 5,700-square-foot building.

The medical center is expected to employ 16 people in its first year and 20 in its second year, town officials said.

Their practice, Long Island Bariatric,  is an offshoot of Suffolk Surgical Group, which Dr. Rubenstein and Dr. Mehta operate in East Patchogue, while previously renting a small office space in Riverhead.

Long Island Bariatric is now the first Center for Excellence for bariatric surgery on the East End, according to Dr. Mehta, who is also affiliated with Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.

In addition to being a Comprehensive Regional Bariatric Center, the medical building at 715 Roanoke Avenue also will house an Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center, which will be run by Dr. Rajesh Patel, a pulmonologist who also is affiliated with Peconic Bay Medical Center, and which is expected to open in April.

Dr. Mehta said that that pulmonary outpatients currently must go to Southampton or Brookhaven.

“We are trying to develop a comprehensive program where we can have our local residents address all their needs locally,” she said.

The business received tax incentives from the Riverhead Town Industrial Development Agency last year that granted a five year property tax exemption on the value of the improvements that starts at 50 percent in year one, then is gradually reduced each year for the next four years, after which they pay full taxes, according to Tracy Stark-James, the executive director of the IDA.

They also got exemptions on sales tax for building supplies and on mortgage recording tax.

Bariatric surgery is a type of weight-loss surgery that reduces the size of the stomach by one of several methods, such as gastric banding or gastric bypass, among others.

It’s best known patient is perhaps Today Show weatherman Al Roker, who lost more than 100 pounds after having bariatric surgery in 2002.

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BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The building's reception area.

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