L.I. Science Center announces move

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | A young girl using a learning tool inside the Long Island Science Center.

The Long Island Science Center announced in a press release Wednesday its plans to move to a building with three times more space than its current location in downtown Riverhead.

Director Michelle Pelletier said the museum, which has spent the past 10 years at 11 West Main Street, recently completed the paperwork to purchase a 10,000 square foot building at 101 East Main Street.

In a phone call, Ms. Pelletier said the Science Center is aiming to complete the move within a year.

“There’s always planning and renovations that have to happen,” she said. “I would love for [the move] to happen sooner because it’s an exciting thing, but it all depends.”

The new location, which overlooks the Peconic River and once housed Bohack Supermarket, Edward Archers, and West Marine, “will provide significantly more space for exhibits, allow multiple school groups to visit at the same time, add classroom space, and provide areas for exhibit storage and fabrication,” Ms. Pelletier said.

The Science Center also said it plans to open a gift shop at its new location that will specialize in educational and kid-friendly toys, science kits and experiments, books, and DVDs.

“Expanding the Science Center will contribute to the revitalization of downtown, increase tourism to the area, and promote Riverhead in a positive and constructive manner,” Ms. Pelletier said.

The Long Island Science Center entered into a contract earlier this year to sell their property at 11 West Main Street to a developer who plans to build 48 upscale apartments overlooking the Peconic River and Grangerbel Park.

The project’s owner, Simshabs X, Inc, headed by Brooklyn developer Rafi Weiss, is seeking exemptions from sales tax on materials purchased for the construction, on mortgage recording tax and on real property taxes.

The Riverhead Industrial Development Agency will hold a public hearing on the request for IDA benefits for Blue River Estates on Monday, July 8, at 5 p.m. in Town Hall.

The IDA’s uniform tax exemption policy gives tax abatements only on the increased assessment that results from the project, so that the tax amount will never decrease from what it was beforehand.

The uniform policy starts at 50 percent for the first year, and decreases by five percent per year over 10 years, at which point the property owner pays full taxes.

The abatements only apply to school, town, county and fire district taxes.

In addition, the IDA has the discretion to deviate from that policy, as it has done on several recent projects, such as Long Island Aquarium and Hyatt Place Hotel, and the Summerwind Square apartments, both of which were give 100 percent exemptions for 10 years.

Blue River Estates calls for the demolition of the existing building at 11 West Main Street and replacing it with a proposed 70,000 square foot, 48-unit building apartment building with an indoor parking facility on the ground floor. The cost of the project is estimated at $9.65 million.

With Tim Gannon.

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