Riverhead IDA officially accepts joint application for the development of EPCAL
On Wednesday, the Riverhead Industrial Development Program voted to formally accept the joint application from the Riverhead Community Development Agency and Calverton Aviation & Technology, triggering a review process for a project that began in 2018.
CAT, led by Triple Five Group, is seeking to buy 1,644 acres of land at Enterprise Park in Calverton for $40 million. The city signed a contract with CAT in 2018 and it has yet to be finalized, in part because the city has been unable to obtain subdivision approval from the state.
The City Council in November 2018 voted 3-2 to approve the sale, in a vote split along party lines.
Earlier this year, the city and CAT agreed to file a joint application with IDA to determine if CAT has the finances and capacity to carry out the project presented by CAT.
IDA held a public meeting on Wednesday to hear the CAT’s presentation, about a week after the application was released. The public was invited to view the presentation but could not comment.
“This is not a public hearing, so there will be no public comment session at this meeting,” IDA Chairman Jim Farley said.
He said there will be opportunities for the public to speak in the future.
CAT said it plans to spend approximately $245 million to acquire and develop EPCAL’s first 1 million square feet. He says construction of the first phase of the project will create 235 full-time equivalent construction jobs, with salaries and benefits of about $21 million.
CAT’s development team on the project is now led by J. Petrocelli of Ronkonkoma, who is best known for building the Long Island Aquarium, Hyatt Hotel and Sea Side Ballroom and d other projects in downtown Riverhead.
Chris Robinson of R&M Engineering, who also works for CAT, said the first phase of the development will include five buildings. These will include two logistics buildings – each 300,000 square feet – and three two-story flex buildings totaling 400,000 square feet. Flexible buildings have a variety of uses.
The total building size would be 1 million square feet, he said.
The total size for all two phases of the project would be 10.04 million square feet, depending on demand.
Mr. Robinson said that the logistics industry has various components.
“The idea here is the aeronautical aspect to bring the packages into a logistics building and transfer them onto semi-trailer trucks that can be taken to other distribution facilities,” he said.
Companies like Amazon use their “last mile distribution” centers, where they have tractor-trailer trucks overnight, Robinson said.
“This end of the logistics business is not handled on Long Island,” Robinson said. “It would be an amazing opportunity to bring that here.”
The phase one development will also require the construction of a new road which will connect to Burman Boulevard and cross the development and join River Road to the south, Robison said.
CAT said it was a private company and would not make its financial statements public.
CAT has provided CDA’s attorney with a letter confirming that it has the necessary assets to undertake the EPCAL redevelopment, CAT attorney Peter Curry said in a Sept. 8 letter to Tracy Stark-James. , Executive Director of IDA.
The city acquired the EPCAL property from the Navy in 1998 “for the specific purchase of economic development,” said Dawn Thomas, executive director of the Community Development Agency, which has the same members as the city council.
The Navy, from 1953, had leased the land to the Grumman Corporation, which built and tested fighter aircraft there, and which was the town’s largest employer until it left, and gave the property to the town .
The city sold the 500-acre industrial core of EPCAL to a group led by builder Jan Burman in 2001 for about $17 million. Mr. Burman has since earned more than $30 million reselling those properties, according to city records.
Officials said the EPCAL redevelopment was intended to replace jobs lost when Grumman left.
Triple Five Group, which is best known for building large shopping malls, owns 75% of CAT, while Luminati Aerospace, led by Daniel Preston, owns the remaining 25%.
Justin and Nader Ghermezian, who are directors of the Triple Five Group, were present on Wednesday but did not speak.