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Solar company drops lawsuit to halt Riverhead’s $40M EPCAL deal

The EPCAL site in Calverton is a possibility

The EPCAL site in Calverton is a possibility for the location of the Shinnecock's casino. (Jan. 31, 2008) Credit: The Nature Conservancy / Trish Pelkowski

Renewable energy developer sPower is dropping a lawsuit it filed earlier this month against Riverhead and a Calverton entity seeking to buy most of the developable property at the Enterprise Park at Calverton for $40 million, the attorneys representing the developer confirmed this week.

Melville-based Weber Law Group LLP, on behalf of its client, is withdrawing the lawsuit due to documents filed last Thursday in Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead by the attorneys of Calverton Aviation & Technology LLC. The joint venture between Calverton-based Luminati Aerospace and Triple Five Real Estate I LLC is negotiating with Riverhead to purchase 1,600 acres of the property to expand Luminati’s operations.

The energy developer in January proposed a “substantial” offer for the EPCAL property to turn it into a solar farm. However, Riverhead officials previously stated that since negotiations with the Calverton venture group are still ongoing — and have been since both parties signed a March 2017 letter of intent to sell the property — the town could not entertain additional offers.

The developer filed a lawsuit Feb. 1 seeking to halt the planned sale.

In the motion to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed Tuesday, Jason Stern, a partner and director of litigation at the Weber Law Group, wrote that the Calverton venture’s attorneys “conceded” in those Feb. 15 documents that the letter of intent had been “superseded” by the proposed agreement between the venture group and the agency.

As the primary intent of the lawsuit was to have the court declare the letter of intent was no longer in effect, Stern wrote, the lawsuit was no longer necessary.

“We are pleased that Luminati and the defendants conceded that the [letter of intent] is no longer valid,” Stern said in a statement Wednesday. “We believe the [Community Development Agency] is in a position to evaluate a better proposal and make their decision in the best interests of Riverhead.”

Stern said he could not disclose what the next step for the developer would be.

Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said Thursday that the town will proceed with the qualified and eligible hearing next Tuesday at Town Hall to determine whether the Calverton group can move forward with its proposal.

On the Melville firm’s claims that the letter of intent was not valid, Jens-Smith said, “We are not of that same mindset on that.”

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