Riverhead Resorts hands the town a check

TIM GANNON PHOTO The check presented Tuesday to the Town of Riverhead to extend Riverhead Resorts' agreement at EPCAL.

Riverhead Resorts representatives presented a $3.8 million check to the Riverhead Town Board at its meeting yesterday, but it wasn’t made out to the town. And it wasn’t a bank check.
It was handwritten and made out to the law firm of Frank Isler, the town’s attorney in the contracted sale of 755 acres of town-owned land in Calverton, where the Resorts group hopes to build a $1 billion resorts complex that could include an indoor ski mountain. The money is going to be held in escrow until the Town Board formally approves reducing the selling price from $155 million to $108 million.
That all seemed to be good enough to keep the deal alive.
The $3.8 million is just part of the nearly $6 million Riverhead Resorts owes the town in unpaid extension fees on the real estate contract. Supervisor Sean Walter had given Riverhead Resorts until yesterday, Wednesday, to pay that amount, or else the town would terminate its contract with the company.
The check represents two payments of $1.9 million, for two prior contract extensions. Resorts actually owes three payments and will owe another in December. It has been given several extensions already this year.
The town and the Resorts group have a draft resolution prepared that will allow the developers to make the other two payments in January. That resolution also calls for setting a public hearing as part of a process that would reduce the overall sales price from $155 million to $108 million.
Of the four Town Board members, Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen have opposed further extensions, while Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy have voted to grant extensions.
“It’s a carrot in front of our nose,” Ms. Giglio said as Town Board members posed for photos with the check many thought would never come.
“Where else would you get $10 million for this property that is ours to keep if this doesn’t go through?” Councilman John Dunleavy asked Ms. Giglio, referring to previous down payments the Resorts group has made to the town.
Mr. Walter interrupted.
“This is not something we’re discussing at the Town Board meeting,” he said.
He said the board will discuss the matter at a work session or at executive session. No public hearing has been set.
“We didn’t get a bank check,” Mr. Walter said, “so I and this board is not taking any action on this until that money is in the bank.”
If built, the developers’ multi-themed resorts complex would be bigger than Disneyland. It would be located on land now known as the Enterprise Park at Calverton, or EPCAL, which was owned for decades by the U.S. Navy before it was deeded to Riverhead Town in the mid-1990s.
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