Company behind EPCAL purchase offers $14M for Dowling campus

05/23/2018 6:00 AM |

Triple Five Group, which owns a controlling interest in Calverton Aviation & Technology, the company that’s hoping to buy 1,640 acres of town-owned land at Enterprise Park at Calverton for $40 million, is now hoping to start another aviation business nearby.

Triple Five Aviation LLC is making a $14 million cash offer for the 105-acre former Dowling College Brookhaven Campus in Shirley, which is being auctioned off in a bankruptcy proceeding.

“This is something that complements what we’re doing in Calverton, and it’s something that will enhance our vision and overall strategy,” said Stuart Bienenstock, Triple Five’s director of business development, in an interview.

“We’re moving forward with our plans and we’re hoping we will get the designation in Calverton,” he said. “But in the meantime, that’s going to take some time, so while we’re going through that process, we want to get started on the Shirley property.”

That land is already zoned for what Triple Five wants to do, and has buildings on it, Mr. Bienenstock said.

Because the Calverton land is in an urban renewal zone, Triple Five underwent a “qualified and eligible sponsor” process to prove they have the finances and ability to purchase the land and carry out a development plan for it.

The Riverhead Town Board has completed the hearing process but has yet to rule, as board members said they are awaiting an ethics board recommendation as to whether Councilwoman Jodi Giglio should recuse herself from voting, being that she had met privately with members of Triple Five earlier this year.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said the board is awaiting a recommendation from the ethics board before making a decision on CAT’s proposal.

Mr. Bienenstock said the focus on aviation is something new to Triple Five Group, but the team they’ve assembled to work for the project is very experienced in aviation.

“This is our vision for the region and something that we’re serious about,” he said. “It’s not just this one opportunity in Calverton.”

The Shirley purchase is subject to approval by a U.S. Bankruptcy court.

That site reportedly includes a 6,500-square-foot airplane hangar, a 70-room dormitory, an athletic complex, and a a two-building office and classroom complex.

Photo caption: Nader Ghermezian (left) and Stuart Bienenstock of CAT at an earlier qualified and eligible sponsor hearing before the Riverhead Town Board. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)

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