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Town Board approves resolutions to acquire PBMC property on West Second Street for new Town Hall

The Riverhead Town Board unanimously approved three resolutions at Tuesday’s meeting to authorize the purchase of a new Town Hall building on West Second Street.

The initial resolution authorizes the Town to purchase the property for use as Town Hall. The second resolution authorizes the issuance of a $1.5 million bond for costs of improvements and renovations to the properties and the third resolution authorizes the issuance of a $20 million bond to cover the costs of acquiring the property.

The resolutions are subject to a permissive referendum, where residents can submit a petition challenging the sale and force a public vote on the issue.

The Town Board and Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation announced Wednesday they had “entered into a period agreement” for the Town to purchase the Robert Entenmann Campus, which includes the former Suffolk County National Bank building that PBMC currently uses for an administrative headquarters. PBMC plans to move those operations to the former Mercy junior high school building and use the funds to expand services. The PBMC Foundation acquired the Mercy property adjacent to the hospital in 2020, two years after the school closed.

“This is a great real estate transaction,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said in casting a yes vote on the first resolution. “It is in the best interests of the taxpayers. And if we can get it right, it’s not going to cost the taxpayers a penny for many years to come.”

Councilman Ken Rothwell called it a “very good day for Riverhead” and Councilman Frank Beyrodt said it will “benefit the town residents for years to come.”

Councilman Tim Hubbard added: “It’s a win-win for the taxpayers.”

No members of the public commented on the resolutions at Tuesday’s meeting.

Amy Loeb, PBMC’s executive director, said in an interview last week that the process of selling the property is “moving swiftly” and a timeline is to be determined for moving forward.

“I’m confident the Town is invested in making this happen,” she said.

She said the hospital can reinvest funds into an emergency department expansion plan that’s underway, as well as expansion to women’s health services and ambulatory care services.

“This transaction would really help to move those initiatives along,” she said.

In addition to the main three-story building, the Town would be acquiring a two-story annex building and a house on Griffing Avenue. The plan includes relocating the Riverhead Town Justice Court to the current Town Hall building and an expansion of the Riverhead Police Department at its current location.

Mr. Hubbard said at Thursday’s work session that finding a larger space for the Justice Court is “the catalyst” for the plan.