The vacant former Capital One building on the northwest corner of East Main Street and East Avenue in downtown Riverhead is set to reopen as a new bank.
The First National Bank of Long Island is expected to get an administrative approval from the Riverhead Town Board to add a handicap ramp and stairs to the front of the building, as well as repaving and re-striping an existing parking lot, replacing lights with ones that conform to town regulations and replacing the main entrance door.
The application also calls for planting several trees and plantings around the property.
“I’m glad to see this moving forward and having occupancy in that building,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard at Thursday’s Town Board work session. “It will be nice.”
The Capital One branch that had been located there was closed in November 2017 and the property has been vacant since then.
First National Bank purchased the property from Capital One in December 2018 for $1.45 million.
Because it’s located in a historic district, the town had to wait 30 days to see if any other agencies objected to the town leading approvals of the project, according to planning aid Greg Bergman, who said there were no objections.
At the suggestion of Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, the applicant will put signs up indicating that the parking lot is for bank use during bank hours, but can be used by the public after banking hours.
First National Bank of Long Island was established in 1927 and now has 52 branches on Long Island, as well as in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Riverhead location will be the farthest east.
“In the past few years — with Suffolk County National Bank being taken over — and recent announcements of BNB Bank and Dime merging, you just have that continued consolidation in the market,” said Christopher Becker, President and CEO of First National Bank, in an interview Friday.
“We think our long history of exceptional customer service is going to be well received in the market. We would like to bring our brand of traditional community banking there. We’re confident we will be very successful.”
Mr. Becker grew up on the East End, in Amagansett. First National Bank also has hired others with strong ties to the East End, he said, including Bob Grady and Ken Ruland, both formerly with Suffolk County National Bank, in September.
First National Bank also this month hired Angie Reese, formerly of SCNB and People’s United Bank, as their market manager in the Riverhead branch. Ms. Reese has been active in the Riverhead Rotary and Riverhead Chamber of Commerce over the years.
Mr. Becker said he hopes to have the Riverhead branch open in the “fourth quarter” of this year.