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Riverhead supe gets OK to sign letter for $40M EPCAL deal

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter may this week

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter may this week sign the letter of intent to sell the Enterprise Park at Calverton to Luminati Aerospace for $40 million. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter will meet this week with officials from Luminati Aerospace and could sign the letter of intent on the $40 million sale of the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

The Riverhead Town Board voted 5-0 Tuesday on a resolution authorizing Walter to sign the letter with the Calverton-based aerospace startup. His signature will allow the company to begin negotiations on the purchase of 2,300 developable acres of the 2,900-acre EPCAL property, including both runways.

Once the letter is signed, Luminati will have 30 days to negotiate a contract, followed by a 90-day due diligence process to complete all inspections and environmental zoning studies and reports.

Board members said they expected the deal would close in the late summer, possibly around August.

“If this is real, town residents will know in 90 days,” Walter said. “If it’s not real, we’re going to go over to the next purchaser.”

Walter said most of the money netted from the sale, about $36 million, would go into a debt service account that would pay the town’s debt stemming from a failed $52 million landfill reclamation project dating to the early 2000s.

That action would put the town’s landfill debt “at about zero,” said Walter, who expressed some regret the town could not use the money in other ways. “It’s sad when you think about it, but that’s what it is.”

The EPCAL property, formerly the home of Grumman Corp.’s military aircraft building and testing operation before it closed its operations in 1994, had been a “difficult property to move” since late administrator James Stark’s first efforts to market the property in the mid-1990s, Walter said.

Responding to questions from town supervisor candidate Laura Jens-Smith on possible deadline extensions on the deal, Walter said, “There’s no plan to give any extensions, nor does [Luminati] want it.”

Walter added his understanding was the company wanted “to move quickly” on the deal.

Luminati officials said the deal is expected to help the company expand its operations and create up to 2,000 jobs — including engineering, aviation technician and other technical positions — by 2022.

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