Southampton Town awarded $1 million from state for two Riverside projects

Southampton Town will formally receive $1 million in grant money from New York State to bolster two projects in Riverside, according to a press release from Southampton Town.

The grant money comes from the state’s Restore New York Communities Initiatives program and will be split between projects at the former Riverboat Diner and Peconic Paddler. The grant money was part of $2.8 million the state announced it had awarded to several Long Island and New York City communities.

“This is exactly the kind of catalyst we’ve been looking for to spur economic development in the Riverside area,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman in a statement. “The Town of Southampton thanks Governor Cuomo for helping to encourage private sector investment into the underserved community.”

The former diner will be transformed into a $3.5 million mixed-use development. Builder Paul Pawlowski of Mattituck, under the name 20 Riverleigh Corp., acquired the property in November from the Scheinberg Family Trust. He has filed a site plan application with Southampton Town seeking to build a two-story, 12,000-square-foot building. Both floors would comprise medical offices — representing 8,000 square feet — and workforce apartments — 4,000 square feet, the News-Review previously reported.

Mr. Pawlowski said in December he hopes to begin and finish the project in 2018.

Peconic Paddler was sold to a group headed by New York City fireman Tom Fredette last summer and he had said his plans are to tear down the existing building and construct a larger one that would retain the recreation use of canoes and kayaks, while adding a food service business similar to a “burger shack,” he said.

“We really want the Peconic Paddler to be a continued use forever,” he said in an interview in December.

“The Restore New York Communities Initiative recognizes communities teeming with potential and invests in their transformation and their future, and turns them into neighborhoods New Yorkers are proud to call home,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.

The Restore New York Communities Initiative was enacted in the 2017 state budget and to date, nearly $81 million has been awarded to 71 projects statewide.

To complete his project as envisioned, Mr. Fredette said he needs to connect to Riverhead Town’s sewer district. If the sewer connection is approved, the long-range plan is to build a 4.5-story boutique hotel on the property. He had said he needed the grant money to begin work first on the smaller project.

“The purpose of this funding is to focus on hamlets in need of revitalization,” Southampton Town planning and development administrator Kyle Collins said at a 2017 public hearing on the grant application.


Photo caption: Medical offices and apartments have been proposed for the abandoned Riverboat Diner property on the Riverside traffic circle. (Credit: Krysten Massa)