Riverhead Town officials have struck a $40 million deal to sell the remaining property at The Enterprise Park at Calverton to Luminati Aerospace, the Riverhead Town Board announced Thursday.
The aerospace startup will purchase about 2,300 acres — the remaining developable land at EPCAL, including both runways — of the former naval weapons plant. EPCAL is 2,900 acres.
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said the deal could generate new property tax revenues and create higher-paying jobs.
Daniel Preston, CEO of Luminati Aerospace, issued a statement saying the sale “represents a highly focused plan to bring back aerospace jobs and manufacturing to Long Island, the ‘cradle of aviation.’
“We will be using this historic facility for exactly what it was intended for when Grumman built it in 1956,” Preston said. “By 2022, we project the creation of 2,000 new jobs for Long Island.”
The company is already operating at the Calverton site, where it has worked on several new projects, including a deal announced March 20 with DuPont to develop technology designated for creating body armor fabrics.
Jeremy Freeman, Luminati’s director of public relations, said Thursday that the company’s acquisition of the remaining property will create largely manufacturing jobs within Luminati — including engineers, aviation technicians and other technical workers — with an emphasis on building drones and solar electric-powered aircraft capable of beaming internet service to underdeveloped countries.
In total, the expanded operations as a result of the larger space acquired in the deal could help the company produce up to 19 aircrafts per day, Freeman said.
The town board is expected to vote on a resolution at its Tuesday meeting allowing Walter to sign Luminati’s letter of intent, which is dated March 27.
“Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined reintroducing the aviation and defense industry back to EPCAL to this extent,” Walter said. “The Luminati deal will recreate Long Island’s glorious past with the defense and aviation industries and once again positively transform the regional Long Island economy.”
Board members were visibly excited, hailing the deal as a major boon for the town that would create more jobs in Riverhead during the next several years. Councilman John Dunleavy said the deal is a “win-win for the taxpayers of the town of Riverhead . . . this is a great opportunity for the town.”
“We’re very lucky to get this deal,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard. “This is going to change the Town of Riverhead. This is going to make Riverhead better for . . . my children, for John’s grandchildren.”
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio expressed optimism the sale could be a boon for the local housing market. “We have a lot of houses that are being boarded up throughout the town, and those houses will hopefully be occupied by some of the employees that [Daniel Preston] hopes to bring here, and I think it’s a win-win,” Giglio said.
Luminati will have 90 days after the signing of the letter to perform all inspections and environmental zoning studies and reports, the company’s letter of intent states. Town and company officials both confirmed the deal is expected to close by late 2017.
In December, the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council awarded Luminati $1 million for expanding its development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Kevin S. Law, president and CEO of the Melville-based Long Island Association who co-chairs the council, said Luminati’s presence at EPCAL will “enhance the renewal of Long Island’s aviation industry and create good-paying jobs for our region.”