Downtown developer lands contract to raze Main Street buildings

The company that’s been responsible for building up parts of downtown Riverhead has now been awarded a contract to tear some of it down. 

J. Petrocelli, the Ronkonkoma developer who’s been involved in East Main Street projects such as the Long Island Aquarium, the Hyatt Hotel, the Preston House Restaurant and Hotel and others, has won the contract to demolish vacant buildings at 117 and 121 East Main St. The company was one of five bidders for the contract.

The demolition is part of Riverhead’s Town Square project, which will open up a view from Main Street near the Suffolk Theater south to the Peconic River. 

The two buildings slated for demolition once housed the Swezey’s Furniture Store and the Twin Fork Bicycle Shop. 

The town also acquired a third building, which remains occupied by the Craft’D restaurant and other businesses. 

Town officials say they may eventually demolish that building, too, if they find a new location for the tenants. The bike shop was still operating at the time the town announced plans to purchase and demolish the property.

A rendering of the proposed Town Square. (Credit: Urban Design Associates)

The town has estimated the total cost of acquiring and demolishing of the three buildings, which it purchased in May, at $5.5 million. 

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said the town first came up with the idea for the Town Square last February.

“This is very exciting,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard. “In terms of government speed, it’s incredible.”

“It’s warp speed,” said town community development director Dawn Thomas. 

J. Petrocelli is now under contract to demolish both buildings for $965,000, according to the resolution, which the Town Board approved unanimously last Thursday.

The demolition will probably take place sometime around the week of Oct. 18, but that hasn’t been finalized, according to Ms. Thomas.