A site plan for the construction of 120,450 square feet of additional retail and accessory uses on a 42-acre Route 58 site gained preliminary approval by the Riverhead Planning Board Thursday.
A Costco warehouse is already built on the site, pursuant to an interim site plan approved by the planning board in May 2014. That approval allowed the wholesale club’s 150,000 square-foot warehouse to open before the rest of the construction shown on the original site plan, approved by the town in October 2012, was built. Peter Danowski, attorney for the developer in May 2014, said no further construction would take place until tenants were secured for the new buildings.
Those tenants are now in place, said Chris Kent, the attorney for Brixmor Property Group. The Shops at Riverhead will include PetSmart, Marshalls, Home Goods, Sierra Trading Post and Ulta Beauty, Kent said.
Marshalls, Home Goods and Sierra Trading Post are all owned by TJX Companies, which also owns T.J. Maxx.
Brixmor’s additional construction will be located on the eastern portion of the site.
The retail development has had a history of controversy. The town allowed the previously wooded site to be clear-cut, including the northern 11 acres adjoining the Foxwood community, even though there were no plans to develop that area of the site. Before the 2012 approval, the developer told planners it would be better not to have to disturb that area when such future development took place, after the rest of the center was built.
But whether any future development in that area takes place is questionable. Since the nearly 271,000 square feet of development already approved is the site’s full buildout under the zoning code, any future development will require the owner to purchase development rights through the farmland protection program. Kent told planners in September Brixmor has “no plans” to develop that portion of the site.
The town allowed the developer to move sand and soil from that 11-acre northern area to other lower-lying areas on the site in what was termed a “balanced cut and fill plan.” This allowed the developer to fill and grade low-lying areas without importing sand and soil.
A final site plan will now be prepared and submitted for approval. Final site plan approval is needed before construction can begin.