Demolition began this week to make room for the five-story, 116-lot Riverview Lofts apartments in downtown Riverhead.
The property included the former McCabes/Dinosaur Walk Museum property as well as the buildings to the south of that, closer to the Peconic River, which were demolished first.
Georgica Green LLC, headed by developer David Gallo, received Town Board approval for the project in a 3-2 split vote in September, with Council members Tim Hubbard and Jodi Giglio voting no.
The project calls for affordable or “workforce” apartments on the upper floors, and will have stores and a restaurant on the ground floor.
The parking lot behind the former McCabes building was fenced off in December, in anticipation of the demolition, and created additional parking shortages for some businesses on East Main Street.
If the buildings on the property can be demolished by March 1, the property owner will pay less taxes. March 1 is the so-called taxable status date by which properties are assessed for taxing purposes.
Thus, the assessment would be higher with buildings on it than with empty land.
The owners of the former Sears site also demolished those buildings last year.