Rechler pays $125K to delay EPCAL deal

07/29/2010 12:00 AM |

In a split vote, the Riverhead Town Board on Thursday granted Rechler Equity Partners three more months to decide if it wants to move forward with its proposed $18 million purchase of 300 acres at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
And in doing so, the development group, which has proposed building a high-tech industrial park, agreed to make an immediate and non-refundable $125,000 payment to the town.
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter was absent, and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio voted against the measure, which passed 3-1.
“It was a bad contract to begin with. Why extend it?” she later said.
Councilman George Gabrielsen, who has been critical of the Rechler deal in the past, said that he would support the measure because the $125,000 payment is non-refundable.
“Given the financial straits the town is in, this is something I have to go with,” he said.
“I thought this a great job that our town attorney’s office did in negotiating this and getting us that $125,000,” Councilman John Dunleavy said.
Councilman Jim Wooten also voted in favor of the extension.
The contract with Rechler set Monday, July 26, as the deadline by which Rechler was to decide if it wanted to extend its contract with the town by another six months, according to town attorney Dawn Thomas. To do so, Rechler would have had to pay the town $250,000, which would come off the overall purchase price and be held in escrow, Ms. Thomas said.
After Rechler asked for more time to make that decision, the town and Rechler worked out the agreement by which Rechler would pay $125,000 for an additional three months by which to decide if they want the additional six months, according to Ms. Thomas. The $125,000, which would be paid on top of the $250,000 extension agreement, if it happens, also would be deducted from the overall purchase price.
Rechler Equity Partners first went to contract with the town in 2007 to buy 300 acres of light-industrial land in Calverton for $35 million. In 2009, citing the economy, it convinced the town to drop the price to $18 million.
Rechler’s original plans for the site call for construction of a high-tech industrial park of 2.7 million square feet, a development that would be phased in over 10 years. Rechler recently asked the town to allow residential and retail uses on the site, although none of the Town Board members expressed support for that in interviews afterward.
Rechler also has a 40-year lease agreement with Suffolk County to build a more than 400,000-square-foot business and technology park at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton that reportedly will begin construction next year.
tgannon@timesreview.com