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Apartment project gets 10-year tax abatement from IDA

The Long Island Science Center building on West Main Street will be demolished. Photo by Tim Gannon

Peconic Crossing, a 45-unit, five-story “workforce housing” apartment building proposed on West Main Street, will get a 100 percent property tax abatement on the value of the improvements for 10 years, under a decision made by the Riverhead Town Industrial Development Agency Monday. 

The 10-year tax abatement — which means they will pay full town, school, county and fire department property taxes on the value of the land, while getting a full abatement on the value of what they build — is the IDA’s standard tax abatement for projects in downtown Riverhead, where officials are trying to attract development.

The $17.6 million project also will receive an abatement on county mortgage recording tax, and on sales tax associated with material used in the job.

A joint venture between Conifer Realty of Rochester and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Peconic Crossing plans to buy the Long Island Science Center building on 11 W. Main St. and demolish it to make way for the apartments.

Peconic Crossing is working to help find the Science Center a new location, according to Conifer vice president of development, Allen Handelman.

“We’re hoping to begin construction by the end of the year,” he said at Monday’s IDA meeting. “If not, then maybe the first quarter of next year.”

The Science Center has 240 days from the closing of the sale of the building to leave, under the agreement between the two entities, but Mr. Handelman said they are working to help relocate the Science Center and may do some of the work planned on repairing the bulkhead to the south of the property first, to give them more time.

Peconic Crossing received site plan approval from the Riverhead Town Planning Board in March, and has received a $4.5 million grant from the state’s Office of Storm Recovery, which is intended to help replenish housing stock lost or damaged by storms such as Hurricane Sandy.

Monthly rents for the apartments would range from $952 to $1,133 for the 16 one-bedroom apartments proposed in the project,  and from $1,141 to $1,528 for the 29 two-bedroom apartments.

There also would be a preference given to artists or people displaced by storms and perspective tenants would have to meet “workforce housing” income guidelines.

The project was originally proposed as Blue River Estates under a different developer in 2013, and later was taken over by Peconic Crossing.

It had its first hearing before the IDA in December 2014, but since the project was altered since that first hearing, it was required to have another IDA hearing, officials said.

Photo caption: The Long Island Science Center building on West Main Street will be demolished. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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