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CAT provides additional financial info to town, renderings of proposal

08/17/2018 5:06 PM |

Calverton Aviation & Technology has provided Riverhead Town with the additional financial information it promised, including three letters from financial institutions who are willing to finance construction and updated renderings showing the first phase of construction, according to Stuart Bienenstock, the director of business development for Triple Five Group, which is the majority owner of CAT.

“We believe that our submission will provide the board the comfort needed to move ahead with the project,” Mr. Bienenstock said Friday.

The documents are publicly available on the town website.

Two weeks ago officials from CAT notified the town to say they would provide additional financial information — although not everything — that the town had requested and would need 14 days to do so. The town had imposed a 4 p.m. deadline for Aug. 3 for CAT to agree to submit the financial information.

Those documents, CAT says, shows it can secure the $40 million needed to complete the purchase of 1,640 acres of town-owned land at Enterprise Park at Calverton.

A letter dated Aug. 14 from Grant Thornton LLP states that they are independent accountants and advisers for the Ghermezian family, who are the founders of Triple Five. The letter states that Triple Five Group of Companies has in excess of $40 million available cash equivalent balances as of Aug. 14.

Another letter dated July 31 from Liberty Mutual states that the insurance company is prepared to issue $120 million performance and payment bonds as performance security for the EPCAL project. A separate letter dated Aug. 15 from Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC states that the company is “highly interested” in working with CAT on arranging and structuring debt financing.

“These lenders have expressed interest in financing the full construction costs based on our contribution of $40 million in equity and our established track record with projects of an even greater size and scale,” an Aug. 3 letter from CAT attorney James Catterson noted.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said Friday afternoon that she’s done a preliminary overview of the documents and she’ll be spending the weekend giving them a more thorough look.

“It’s a lot of information to digest,” she said.

Included is a 28-page budget proposal dated Aug. 8. The construction pro forma outlines projected costs, which shows a total budget estimate of $109.7 million.

“That was one big piece of the puzzle,” Ms. Jens-Smith said.

The roof of the main building would be green and also feature solar panels. (Courtesy rendering)

Mr. Bienenstock added: “We have taken the supervisor, deputy supervisor and the entire boards concerns to heart and believe that our submission clearly demonstrates we are fully qualified and eligible to execute our regional economic development plan.”

The document showing the renderings lists several iconic destinations in Riverhead such as the Suffolk Theater and Vail-Leavitt Music Hall and boasts how Riverhead doesn’t need to change.

“Our goal for CAT is to create a considered catalyst for Riverhead and Long Island that creates an economic and cultural center for the region while still maintaining the heart and soul of what makes Riverhead special,” the document says.

The proposed building would feature a green roof “planted with a combination of native grasses and wild meadow plants.” It would help retain rainwater, provide insulation to the building and serve as a protected natural habitat for native birds and other animals, the document says. Non-reflective solar panels would also be on the roof and adjacent to the runways.

The rooftop would be accessible to the public for community events, according to the plan.

“Times will be designated for the community to access ‘pick-your-own’ events on the rooftop berry farm areas,” the document says.

Ms. Jens-Smith said it was the first time officials have seen the renderings.

The existing airstrip would be used for development of aviation and aerospace technology, “bringing this industry back to Riverhead in a robust and effective way.”

The pitch also promises educational outreach in the community with classes that utilize the outdoor walkways and green roof. Programs within the facility can be used for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, and math) classes. A vocational program will also help train workers for the various industries that will reside in the facility.

Also included in the documents is a 20-page economic benefits analysis.

The town needs the additional information in order to determine if CAT is a “qualified and eligible sponsor,” a designation required in order to sell town land in an urban renewal area like EPCAL.

In Mr. Catterson’s letter, he wrote that if the town requires further information on CAT’s finances, they would require a “comprehensive non-disclosure agreement.” A nationally recognized auditing firm would be required to conduct the review of that information, Mr. Catterson wrote. And if the town wishes to propose terms, CAT would willing to work with town officials to come to an agreement “as soon as possible,” the letter states.

Ms. Jens-Smith has said the auditing firm, if needed, should be paid for by CAT. Some town officials said that cost cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. The auditing firm would not make any decision for the town.

Top photo caption: An aerial view of the proposed building in Calverton. (Courtesy rendering)

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CAT EPCAL by Timesreview on Scribd

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