Rechler given until end of the month to come up with $250K for EPCAL deal

Rechler Equity Partners has until the end of this month to pay a $250,000 fee for a six-month extension to buy 300 acres at EPCAL from Riverhead Town for $18 million, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

But town board members say the company still wants to amend its proposal to include some housing and retail uses, and a majority of the Town Board members are opposed to that.

Now Rechler will have to decide if it wants to continue negotiating with the town, or if it will simply pull out of the deal.

When the town first went into contract with Rechler Equity Partners in 2007, they offered $35 million for 300 acres, on which they proposed to build a 2.7 million square foot, hi-tech industrial park that would be phased in over 10 years. Rechler had said the project would generate some 3,700 construction jobs and 7,650 permanent jobs over 10 years.

But in 2009, citing the economy, the asked the town to drop the price to $18 million, which the board, under then-Supervisor Phil Cardinale, agreed to do.

Earlier this year, Rechler asked board members for changes in the permitted uses on the site to allow for more than 900 apartments and retail uses mixed in with light industrial uses. Four of the five Town Board members say they oppose housing on the EPCAL site, and Councilman John Dunleavy said he favors a mixed use, but feels Rechler wants too much housing.

The contract with Rechler initially set July 26 of this year as the deadline by which the developer was to decide if it wanted to extend its contract with the town by another six months, according to town officials, who said that 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.

After Rechler asked for more time to make that decision, the town and Rechler worked out the agreement by which Rechler would pay a non-refundable amount of $125,000 for an additional three months in which to decide if it wants to pay the $250,000 fee for the additional six month extension or they would be in default of their contract, officials said. The Town Board approved the three month extension by a 3 to 1 vote, with Councilwoman Jodi Giglio opposed and Supervisor Sean Walter absent.

The three months expires at the end of October, according to Mr. Walter, who said Rechler now must decide if it wants to pull out of the contract or continue to negotiate with the town, despite the board’s opposition to the changes in uses sought by Rechler.

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This post was originally published Oct. 23, 2010