Planning Board approves Restaurant Depot plan for former Walmart site

The Riverhead Planning Board voted 4-0 last Thursday to approve a site plan for Restaurant Depot, which has proposed to fill a portion of the vacant former Walmart site at Riverhead Plaza on Route 58. 

The 65,267 square feet retail space to be leased by Restaurant Depot was previously occupied by Walmart, which relocated in 2014 to a site farther west on Route 58. An additional 46,733 square feet of the original Walmart space is still available for lease, according to Phillips International co-president Seth Pilevsky, who issued a press release in November announcing a 15-year lease agreement with Restaurant Depot. Philips International owns the plaza.

The 4-0 Planning Board vote reflects the absence of board member Joe Baier. 

Restaurant Depot is a members-only chain that sells wholesale food, beverages, equipment and supplies for restaurants and bars. 

Phillips International said Restaurant Depot expects to bring between 40 and 60 permanent jobs to the area and plans $9 million in capital improvements to the property.

At a July 7 Planning Board hearing, William Kugelman, director of construction and development for Phillips International, said Restaurant Depot will be the “newest anchor tenant” at the site. He said Phillips has been aggressively marketing the site, at one point in 2015 seeking to get Regal Cinemas to open a multiplex theater there; Regal eventually dropped out of the deal. 

Mr. Kugelman said at the July 7 hearing that they are hoping to secure a second tenant for Riverhead Plaza as well. Restaurant Depot is also proposing several improvements to the site, such as installing sound attenuating walls ranging from eight to 16 feet high to reduce noise; removing the former garden center and constructing a five-bay truck loading dock. 

Restaurant Depot says it operates more than 130 stores in 30 states, and sells wholesale and retail items, including bulk fresh produce, seafood, meats, frozen grocery items, restaurant equipment and supplies, beer, wine and wholesale spirits.