Developers behind a new apartment complex on West Main Street in Riverhead have plans to integrate features that spotlight safety and security in the face of natural disasters and storms.
Rafi Weiss, president of Simshabs X, Inc. the developer behind the proposed Blue River Estates project on West Main Street, said with recent hurricanes and storms, proactive measures will be taken when designing the five-story building that will protect residents from flooding, power loss, and other issues.
After Hurricane Sandy, Weiss said, scores of residents "suffered" after devastating flooding and winds.
Weiss said the Blue River Estates project will feature safety measures that will make the newly constructed building "a self-sufficient island" in the area.
Generators will be installed that will not only power the building, Weiss said, but that will also be included in each apartment, to power an outlet and connect a refrigerator, appliance, or television when outages occur. "You're going to be safe, in that respect," Weiss said.
Floodgates, which will be placed on wheels, will also be sited outside the building during storms, Weiss said, with an eye toward mitigation of rain impacts.
And, he added, the building will also be constructed upon columns created of poured concrete and steel, which will be at least 13 feet above grade, to avoid flooding.
An electrical room, with a generator, will also be placed on the roof, rather than in the basement, to avoid damage during flooding sparked by storms, Weiss said.
"Whoever is in this building will be, to a great extent, comfortable in relation to the effects of natural disasaters and floods," Weiss said.
The building, which will be feature a host of amenities, will be geared to an "upscale" clientele, Weiss said, and has the potential to transform West Main Street.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday that the safety features proposed are "all wonderful ideas."
He added, though, that since the first floor of the building would feature parking facilities, flooding would not be a major concern. In addition, he said, the area by the road on West Main Street does not flood that often. The parcel, he added, is located west of the dam, and water gets pushed upriver in the event of a nor'easter. Water does not usually back up, except in "more unusual" situations such as hurricanes.
The site, he said, is not like other areas in Riverhead such as the Peconic River parking lot that floods frequently during storms.
But, Walter added, the Blue River Estates plan is a "wonderful project." The supervisor said he looks forward to the developers closing on the deal and said he plans to move "approvals through as fast as I can."
In January, the board discussed the new apartment house that is slated to be coming soon to West Main Street in Riverhead.
Riverhead architect Martin Sendlewski came before the Riverhead Town board to discuss plans for Blue River Estates.
The apartment house would feature 48 one and two-bedroom units, with the one-bedroom units averaging around 900 square feet. Each unit would have one-and-a-half baths, a laundry room and walk-in closets.
The project would feature an atrium and a glass elevator, Sendlewski said. Parking would be available beneath the building.
Sited where the Long Island Science Center now stands, the goal would be to raze that building and construct the new apartment building, with the Long Island Science Center finding a new location in Riverhead.
The new building, Sendlewski said, could help bolster downtown Riverhead, creating a need for additional retail and promoting foot traffic.
"Main Street is not known for destination retail, so we need to put people in there," Councilman Jim Wooten said.
"This is what we need," Walter said.
The supervisor asked about the height of the buillding; Sendlewski said the structure would comply with the town's zoning code and measure approximately 60 feet.
Walter said he'd like to expedite the project and set up a joint presubmission meeting with the town and the county.
"I'd like to move on this as quickly as possible," he said.
Runoff from the site would be maintained by the facility; a rain garden in the atrium might be one good way to do that, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio suggested.