The founders of a real estate firm plan to renovate the building formerly home to Hy Ting Restaurant on West Main Street into a new restaurant on the first floor with a pair of one-bedroom apartments on the second floor.
The preliminary plan was discussed at Monday’s Riverhead Industrial Development Agency meeting.
Hildreth Real Estate Advisors, founded in 2019 by David Shorenstein and Jason Breitstone, purchased the building at 54 W. Main St. for $475,000 and closed last December, according to Ike Israel of Richmond Realty Corp. Mr. Israel outlined the proposal at Monday’s meeting along with Mr. Breitstone. He estimated another $500,000 would be invested into the building.
Mr. Israel noted that building permits and formal application would be required before the project can proceed. The renovations would be done within the building’s existing footprint.
The apartments would be market rate, Mr. Israel said. As for the restaurant, an agreement is in the works with a restauranteur who is eyeing an international cuisine. Mr. Israel said the chef was once executive chef of Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville and the Dory on Shelter Island. Live music would be part of the restaurant, he added.
The building has been vacant for two years and Mr. Israel said he’s been trying to find a new tenant for the last year. Hy Ting ran into legal troubles in 2017 and 2018 with town police and the State Liquor Authority and ultimately closed for good. The building would need a new roof, Mr. Israel said, and a new entryway would be created to access the apartments.
Mr. Israel said he has gone over the proposal with Richard Wines, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, since the building is in the historic district. The plan is to redo the building’s facade, with new windows from floor to ceiling on the first floor, similar to what Mazi looked like.
He said the project will be done under the Federal Opportunity Zones Program. Opportunity Zones are federal income tax incentives designed to spur economic development by allowing taxpayers to defer capital gains by reinvesting those gains into communities that have been specially designated as “qualified opportunity zones.” The IDA and Community Development Agency hosted a workshop in late 2018 to share information on how the program works after the “opportunity zones” were approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury earlier that summer.
Mr. Breitstone said they own three properties in Riverhead and 13 overall. He and his partner have been doing real estate for 17 years, starting in New York City where they bought and sold a number properties.
Tracy Stark James, the executive director of the IDA, said she’s been working with Mr. Israel on this particular location.
“We’ve been working on what type of project it would be,” she said. “He had a few new business ideas for the location, but this one hopefully will come through. It will be a new business and a new restaurant to Riverhead with two apartments above.”
Mr. Isreal said the goal is to have the restaurant up and running by April 2021.