Another possible Shinnecock casino site pitched in Calverton

07/20/2010 12:00 AM |

The owners of 131 acres of vacant farmland next to Splish Splash in Calverton are hoping their property will be considered as a possible location for a Shinnecock Nation casino.
That proposal brings to three the number of Calverton locations being shopped as a potential casino site.
The other two locations —  the land slated for the Riverhead Resorts project and 95 acres owned by developer Jan Burman — are at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
Riverhead Resorts and the owners of the property near Splish Splash are both scheduled to give presentations to Suffolk County’s Gaming Task Force at 10 a.m. Thursday in Hauppauge. Mr. Burman made a presentation to the same task force in June.
Bryan Galgano, a spokesman for Legislator Wayne Horsley, who chairs the task force, said the three Calverton sites are the only ones to have scheduled appearances before the task force so far.
The 131 acres is currently vacant farmland on the south side of Route 25 in Calverton, immediately west of Splish Splash. The property extends as far south as the Long Island Expressway.
The site has approximately 1,000 linear feet of frontage on Route 25 and approximately 2,400 linear feet of frontage on the Long Island Expressway, according to Joe Nehmad, a broker for Fillmore Real Estate of Brooklyn, which is representing the property owners. It has been listed for sale online at $60 million.
According to Riverhead Town records, the property is comprised of two parcels — 116 acres are owned by Bagatelle Associates of Brooklyn, and the other 15 acres are owned by Eletag Associates of Brooklyn. Both addresses were in care of Dr. Abraham Ostad of Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn.
Riverhead Resorts is seeking to buy 755 acres of land from Riverhead Town at EPCAL with the goal of building eight theme resorts, including one with an indoor ski mountain.
Mitch Pally, an attorney for Riverhead Resorts, said the contract they have with the town prohibits casinos, but he said Town Board members told him they would not object to appearing before the county gaming task force.
“We’re more than happy to talk to anybody about anything that can make this project better,” Mr. Pally told the News-Review earlier this month.
Riverhead Resorts also is in default of its contract with the town because it has missed two $1.98 million payments that were required in order to receive a pair of three-month extensions of the deadline by which the sale was supposed to have been finalized.
The Shinnecocks would need federal recognition as a tribe in order to build a casino. The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently recommended recognition for the Shinnecocks, but a last-minute challenge by a Connecticut group has delayed that process. In order to get a casino on non-reservation property,  the Shinnecocks would have to acquire property and have it put into a federal trust. Approval from the state is also needed.
To date, only four off-reservation casinos exist in the United States, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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