Riverhead’s Planned Parenthood will have to find a new location by next fall because its new landlord does not intend to renew the lease when it expires in September 2016.
Although Planned Parenthood officials were “shocked” to hear they would have to move, they said they now hope to take the opportunity to upgrade the current facilities. And Reina Schiffrin, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Hudson-Peconic affiliate, was clear: the organization has no intention of leaving Riverhead.
“We absolutely plan to stay in Riverhead,” she said. “We’ll build a better, more beautiful center.”
Markowitz, Fenelon & Bank, a certified public accounting firm with four offices on the East End, purchased the block of buildings at 552-554 E. Main St. in August for $3.2 million.
Tom Terry, a partner with the firm’s Riverhead office, said the plan is to move the firm from its current location on Northville Turnpike into a space about 50 percent larger.
“We’re excited to get over there and be part of the renovated Main Street,” he said. “Where I am now — we’re done. We couldn’t expand any more.”
His company renovated 8,800 square feet of the office park for its own use, and it plans to lease out whatever it does not use — including Planned Parenthood’s current space — to “professionals.”
“The intent is that by this time next year, they will not be there,” Mr. Terry said. “I bought [the property]. I have a mortgage, and I have to pay it.”
Two other lessees in that office park, a church and Pilgrim Psychiatric Center’s Peconic branch, have leases through the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2018, respectively, so they will remain there at least that long.
Ms. Schiffrin said Planned Parenthood had planned to stay in its current location before receiving news that Markowitz, Fenelon & Bank — whom she described as “reasonable” — would not renew the lease. She is currently exploring other real estate in Riverhead.
“I’d like to have a new location identified by December for sure, so the board can vote on that,” she said. “I would love to move in by next fall. If it can be sooner, we will move sooner.”
Despite the initial surprise, Ms. Schiffrin said she hopes to use the move as a chance to develop a “state-of-the-art center” with a better architectural flow, clearer signage and improved amenities, such as digital check-in kiosks and a waiting room with different areas to allow more privacy.
Riverhead is a key location for a Planned Parenthood, she said, since it serves all of the East End. She also stressed the importance of finding a new location that is accessible by bus.
“We serve quite a large population who need us, both men and women,” she said. “We have to stay on the East End of Long Island. This is really an anchor for us.”
Photo caption: The accounting firm that purchased property including 550 East Main Street (pictured) in August decided not to renew Planned Parenthood’s lease. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)