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Luminati and developer’s VC unit strike deal on Enterprise Park

Aerospace firm, which seeks to build solar-powered aircraft, gains in its proposed purchase and development of EPCAL property.

Luminati Aerospace, based in Calverton, has a financing

Luminati Aerospace, based in Calverton, has a financing deal for its proposed purchase of land from the Town of Riverhead. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Luminati Aerospace LLC has struck a deal with the venture capital arm of a large developer to finance its proposed purchase of the Town of Riverhead’s remaining land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, the company’s attorney has confirmed.

“Triple Five Ventures Co. LLC, owned by the Ghermezian brothers, has entered into a written agreement to finance and develop the property,” Robert Hasday, a partner in Manhattan-based law firm Duane Morris LLP, said Wednesday.

The Gharmezian brothers’ Edmonton, Canada-based Triple Five Worldwide Group is the developer of gigantic properties such as Minnesota’s Mall of America and New Jersey’s American Dream mall. It also develops industrial properties.

Disclosure of the agreement came after Luminati, based at EPCAL, rejected an offer by United Refining Energy Corp. to finance Luminati’s $40 million deal to purchase large tracts at EPCAL. Riverhead officials tentatively approved that deal last spring. United Refining is controlled by John Catsimatidis, a billionaire former New York City mayoral candidate who has interests in New York real estate and the Gristedes supermarket chain.

“We made a proposal, and they didn’t accept,” said J. Nelson Happy, a spokesman for Catsimatidis. “I think we’re history on this project.”

In October 2015, Luminati paid $3.4 million for 16.3 acres at EPCAL owned by Skydive Long Island and later announced plans to develop solar-powered aircraft for a major Internet company. That company, later identified as social networking giant Facebook Inc., parted ways with Luminati, which had been seeking alternative financing to purchase more land at EPCAL.

Hasday said that although Triple Five is known for its huge malls, it also has expertise in industrial projects.

“They clearly understand this project isn’t retail,” he said. “It isn’t a mall; it’s industrial-commercial.”

Luminati officials have installed sophisticated machinery for manufacturing structural aircraft parts out of composite fibers at its Plant 6 facility, where Grumman Corp. once built F-14 jets.

In June 2016 a Luminati pilot flew a prototype solar-electric aircraft at an EPCAL runway in a demonstration of its technology.

Luminati officials have spoken of using the EPCAL land to attract other manufacturers and create an aerospace ecosystem, but Hasday said details of the plan would be made public through Riverhead Town hearings on the purchase.

Calls to Triple Five for comment were not returned.

The American Dream megamall, next to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is expected to include an aquarium, indoor ski slope and two roller-coasters and is scheduled to open in 2019.

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