By: David Winzelberg The long-awaited sale of 1,643 acres in Calverton is a step closer to being finalized after the Riverhead Town Board approved the transfer of the property to the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency on Thursday.
The $40 million purchase by Calverton Aviation & Technology, representing the largest Long Island land sale in modern history, was initially approved by the town in Nov. 2018, but the sale’s closing was awaiting subdivision approval by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which has been delayed by a dispute over supplying water to the property.
The DEC had refused to greenlight the proposed subdivision of the site unless the Suffolk County Water Authority was tapped to supply water, which the town had opposed.
By transferring the property to the IDA, the development group would lease the site and assume the responsibility of getting the subdivision approved and securing all permits.
Calverton Aviation & Technology, a partnership led by Canadian conglomerate Triple Five Worldwide Group, plans to redevelop about 600 acres of the Enterprise Park at Calverton site into a large industrial park.
“We understand and appreciate the opportunity and the responsibility the town is granting us and we are ready to seize the moment,” read a company statement. “We bring decades of experience and will commit every resource available to ensure that our innovative park will be a success and a defining project for the Town of Riverhead, our company, and, most importantly, the residents of the town.”
Zoned to accommodate 9.8 million square feet of development, the purchase agreement with the town calls for Calverton Aviation & Technology to build a minimum of 1 million square feet of development at EPCAL within the first five years.
The unique site is primed for development. Its infrastructure includes sewers, rail freight service and two runways, one of which is active and at 10,000 feet is one of the longest on the East Coast.
It’s been more than two decades since the town took title to the 2,900-acre Calverton property, last used by the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman for testing F14s and other military aircraft. Some 1,900 acres of it has been preserved as open space and to protect the region’s environmental health. The rest of the property was earmarked for economic development, though the town has struggled to land a deal for the site, despite fielding several ill-fated proposals over the years.
The EPCAL sale was brokered by David Pennetta, David Madigan and Kyle Burkhardt of Cushman & Wakefield.