Massive polo complex pitched for EPCAL

04/08/2011 11:02 AM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO | International Polo Organization representative Jorge Neuss along with his son, German, explain the group's polo complex vision to Councilman John Dunleavy.

An Argentine company called International Polo Organization is looking to buy the same 755-acres at EPCAL that Riverhead Resorts had previously sought to buy.

The company wants to build an “equestrian village” the applicants say would bring “the best polo players in the world” there for matches.

The group envisions the Enterprise Park at Calverton becoming “the center of the world for polo.”

The plan would “transform [Calverton] into the polo capital of the world,” said Jorge Neuss of Neuss Real Estate, who presented the plan to two Town Board members Thursday along with his son German Neuss.

Mr. Neuss on Thursday did not say how much the group would be willing to pay for the land, and town officials didn’t ask.

Riverhead Resorts had initially offered $155 million, but that deal fell apart earlier this year.

The proposal presented on a projector also showed 400 housing units, although they later said that the polo program was not dependent on the housing, and that they can change the plan to lessen or remove the housing component.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilman John Dunleavy were the only Town Board members in attendance, as more than that would have required that a formal Town Board meeting be declared for the presentation, something Supervisor Sean Walter opposed. County Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) also attended.

The town has just authorized a firm called VBH to do a $448,000 study to look at what uses and zoning should be allowed at the former Grumman property, and to do a comprehensive wildlife study of the property as well a subdivision, something officials say is needed before further development can proceed. The comprehensive study is expected to take about two years to complete and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter has said he doesn’t think the town will be actively marketing the property during that time, although he also directed any inquiries in the meantime to speak with Ms. Giglio.

The IPO proposal envisions tearing up the unused, 7,000-foot runway on the property and building seven polo fields, six of which would be practice fields and one of which would be within a 10,000-seat stadium. The plans also showed residences to be used by horse grooms and owners while the matches are in town. But they stressed the majority of the polo field areas would be left undeveloped.

“Each field is surrounded by trees,” German Neuss said.

The group favors Riverhead mainly because of its proximity to New York City, Jorge Neuss said.

Most of the major polo destinations in Europe are an hour apart, he said.

In addition to Neuss Group, a real estate firm based in New York and Buenas Aires, Argentina, the other partners of IPO are Ellerstina Polo Team and La Dolfina Polo Team, which are two of the world’s top professional polo teams, according to German Neuss. Both clubs are based in Argentina.
Mr. Nuess

“This is major league polo,” said realtor Jack O’Connor, who brought the group to the town.

“I think it’s very interesting,” Ms. Giglio said afterward. “It will bring a lot of people here for very few events. It’s environmentally sensitive and it’s something that could revive our downtown and attract large corporations who would use the polo fields for their own recreational activity, and then maybe relocate their companies to EPCAL on the industrial side. “

Mr. Dunleavy said he’s interested in the proposal but concerned about the housing component.

Councilman George Gabrielsen, who popped in toward the end of the presentation, said this was the first he had seen of the plan, but that he had a lot of questions.

Mr. Walter said earlier in the day that he refused to put IPO on a formal Town Board work session agenda. He said Mr. O’Connor, the town’s real estate broker at EPCAL, contacted him about this group four months ago. Mr. Walter said he wanted a written proposal, but all the group submitted was a website address which showed 300 single-family houses as part of the plan.

“I don’t want to elevate something like this to the front burner,” he said.

The supervisor has said he doesn’t think the town will ever be able to sell the land at EPCAL that is zoned for recreational uses, and he had led the call to re-study and update the zoning at EPCAL.

This is not the first time polo has been proposed at EPCAL. A group called  Palm Beach Polo offered $33.58 million for 1,600 acres at EPCAL for a proposed polo complex that also included housing. That proposal never was approved.

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90 Comment

  • What a great opportunity for Riverhead, but again the town stalls with yet another study: a purchase brings in revenue and a study spends money! Residents are so tired of our town never accomplishing a project…including a movie theatre and YMCA. Wake up and move forward for the betterment of our community!

  • You really have to ask yourself what does Sup. Walter stand for? His call for a study is a tactic to stall any real decision on what to do. This man is not for bringing new business to the area. Ms. Giglio is correct in her thinking. What better fit than an equestrian center for the North Fork. It preserves the beauty and farming culture of the North Fork. Contrary to what many believe, polo is for everyone to enjoy. There are many levels of play but unfortunately most people identify the game as being for the super rich only. It is expensive to play the sport due to the need for space, etc for the horses. But, it’s not expensive to watch and enjoy. A facility like this could make the sport more accessible to people who would like to learn to ride and play.

    It’s just sad and frustrating to see and hear that Sup. Walter is yet again not opening his mind to another idea. He need only do a little research into areas such as Wellington, Fla or Aiken, SC to see what a facility like this can bring to a community. But, rest assured, if a few residents object, he’ll hide behind those objections. Everyone should want to preserve the beauty and culture of the North Fork but if you keep turning away people with money who want to invest in Riverhead what and who are you saving Riverhead for? There will be little or nothing for the residents’ children to stay for?

  • Yet again Walter brings nothing to the table. When he ran for the position, he ran on being pro business. What business has he brought to Riverhead? He has moved a car show to downtown, taking it away from Wading River, has done nothing but stall numerous development projects in and around the town and now I hear he doesn’t want a non for profit group helping the needy. Stellar resume Mr Walter. Go back to being a lawyer and leave us alone. Oh wait, he’s still practicing law in the same town he supervises…nobody has a problem with this?

    I guess we will all keep our heads in the sand and let the powers that be keep turning tax dollars away. I am actually looking forward to more stores and buildings to be boarded up on Main St. That oughtta really help bring new business in.

  • Really? 33.58 mill for 1600 acres? The motorsports community would double that offer and bring in more revenue at the same time. RHT board needs to wake up and listen to their tax paying citizens.

  • POLO.. REALLY??????? this isnt 18th century england. How many people would pay to watch a bunch of people on horse hit a ball with a wooden hammer. 10,000 seat stadium and 6 practice feilds.. yeah, I’m sure that’d fill right up! Riverheads going to be right back up in tip top shape! What a big waste of the land, thats for sure.

  • Thats for sure! I wish there was a LEGAL quarter mile track to race on in this island, too many acidents and kids out there on the roads trying to get a race off unsafely. If Riverhead was smart and used the land for a track, I garuntee it’d fill up every race night, like the hamptons and islip did back before they were demolished for condos and housing… But polo, yeah, I’d pay to see that… not.

  • Any real proposals that were serious the town waited out the buyers to become disgusted and leave.

    RC handed the town a check for 100 millions dollars, he handed them a lottery winning , and they gave it back, who dare you ask were these stupid people.

    Cardinale, Blass, bartunek and Dunleavey

    They got you, 10 mil plus in the red and lost you over a 2.5 billion dollar construction cost job, and probably 1 million in taxes plus

    Polo is played in the hamptons, haven’t you heard, its the biggest thing ever

  • This “Study” is interesting. Now the Town will not market or sell the property for 2 years. Did the developer buy an option on this property from the town? What are we entitled to if the study concludes this development cannot happen? What are we going to get for holding the property for 2 years?

    We need to define economic developement, for our town council to reference, as they obvioulsy have no clue.

    None of the propossed developements offer local long-term economic benefits. What types of jobs are going to be created with a Polo complex? Low paying hourly seasonal jobs, barn hands, and day laborers. Calling this economic development is a bewildering.

    And if they consider building 400 homes good jobs, what happens after these are built.


  • The International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida hosts between 20-30,000 people per season. Can Riverhead Town benefit from this influx of business people, consumers, enthusiasts, and sports people? It also generates $57 million of revenue for the city in just 5 winter months per year. How does that sound???

  • Polo – sport of the rich. Drag racing – sport of the not so rich. I vote for the rich.

  • B.S. ! MOTORSPORTS WOULD BRING IN TRIPLE THAT ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. POLO, ARE YOU PEOPLE ALL FN HIGH ???? 20,000 to 30,000 per season woopie!, 1 major motorsports event would bring that in a day. You say no to motorsports and are considering this piece of crap idea.

  • Well I’m upper upper class high society
    God’s gift to ballroom notoriety
    And I always fill my ballroom
    The event is never small
    The social pages say I’ve got
    The biggest balls of all

    I’ve got big balls
    I’ve got big balls
    They’re such big balls
    And they’re dirty big balls
    And he’s got big balls
    And she’s got big balls
    (But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all)

    And my balls are always bouncing
    My ballroom always full
    And everybody cums and cums again
    If your name is on the guest list
    No one can take you higher
    Everybody says I’ve got
    Great balls of fire

    I’ve got big balls
    Oh I’ve got big balls
    And they’re such big balls
    Dirty big balls
    And he’s got big balls
    And she’s got big balls
    (But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all)

    Some balls are held for charity
    And some for fancy dress
    But when they’re held for pleasure
    They’re the balls that I like best
    My balls are always bouncing
    To the left and to the right
    It’s my belief that my big balls
    Should be held every night

    We’ve got big balls
    We’ve got big balls
    We’ve got big balls
    Dirty big balls
    He’s got big balls
    She’s got big balls
    (But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all)

    (We’ve got big balls)
    (We’ve got big balls)

    And I’m just itching to tell you about them
    Oh we had such wonderful fun
    Seafood cocktail, crabs, crayfish
    (But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all)

    (Ball sucker)
    (Ball sucker)
    (Ball sucker)
    (Ball sucker)

  • Will the real Tmac please comment. Yes I will. There is a large motorsports community here on LI that has been long past by over looked and by media standards are painted to be something their are not. Organizations like the ones I belong to and the Long Island Motorsports Assoc. are not filled with criminals but are trying to do a community service by providing a safe and legal facility so that the thousands in the motor sports community here. All our tracks have been forced to be closed by the greed of developers skinning people looking for a better way of life. Then those people buying close to an existing race facility crying to their new community politicians until the track is closed. Every other sport here gets tax dollars to succeed. The motor sports community has the tax dollars they pay help to put it out of business to accommodate the few that like things like polo. We seek to stop the illegal racing on the streets. Those of you against a legal facility only inhance that problem by stopping the only logical alternative a legal and safe racing facility. There are places in almost every town where you can practice every sport including horse activities. There is only one race facility and it only accomodates one form of racing. Would two be too much to ask for or one that accomodates all forms of motorsports. Try towing your horses to Jersey every weekend to ride them. When it comes to racing the owls and salamanders come out of the woodwork but when it comes to things like polo you never hear a peep out of them. Why is that?

  • Wow! great! we can have POLO events and THIS event below.

  • Nobody on the east end gives a rat’s ass about racing… wherever you race fans are from…build it in your town!



  • I will let robin Williams and George Carlin answer your question.

  • Florida is filled with old people with extra money and nothing better to do. L.I. is filled with motorsports people and businesses. The jobs that would be saved and the revenue generated for the town would blow away anything polo has to offer. Since there are already polo fields around that no one has heard of, do we need more? Any national event in motorsports would pull in 50,000 people in one weekend, no comparision.

  • Kindly show me one single domestic dispute that has ever been reported in this newspaper, and I will gladly concede the point.

    Until then, this is just rumor-mongering for the sake of satisfying individuals’ personal desires to see the personal family matters of a public figure examined in public. If you think there is a scandal, go find it, and report back to all of us. Otherwise, maybe it just is what the paper says it is, a domestic dispute. Nothing sexy, nothing exciting, noting newsworthy, other than one person involved.
    Mr. Russell has served this town well. The man and his wife may have found themselves involved in a family matter, like many, dare I say most, of us have at one time or another. Give it a break.

  • The full story on the Supervisor taking leave from office is on the front page of the hard copy edition of the Suffolk Times and in the online edition of the Shelter Island Reporter –

    It is incredible for the Republicans to claim that “We have no reason to believe that Scott won’t be at the top of the ticket…” Not to jump to a conclusion, but unexpectedly leaving office is obviously reason to question running for re-election.

    Scott Russell deserves personal privacy, but his departure from public office is public business.

    Why didn’t the Suffolk Times report on how long the Supervisor is expected to be on leave?

  • I couldn’t care less what happened at his home, but if it was ANYONE of us laypersons, you bet there would be more than a slight blurb. That was and is my point.

  • Wrong. Domestics are never printed in the paper. PLUS… comments are not allowed on the police report for this very reason. All of this is BS… people need to get a life… especially that troll Edelstein.

  • The recent arrest of a Town employee (who regularly deals with the public) on charges of aggravated harassment goes unnoticed in our paper, while naming one of the masses who urinates on a sidewalk is newsworthy? What is the policy of this newspaper? The punster would say YELLOW journalism

  • May I suggest that you report on the incompetency of the Obama administration, and how they are systematically destroying our economy.

    Proof John, proof! Don’t start spouting nonsense again it’s boring!

    Your old friend

  • May I suggest that you report on the incompetency of the Obama administration, and how they are systematically destroying our economy.

    Proof John, proof! Don’t start spouting nonsense again it’s boring!

    Your old friend

  • Dear John Copertino, in the kindest of ways: I think you need medication. Your thought patterns are something like this: (you speaking) I think blue is the best color.. .Therefore, Obama is a sadistic torturer who will liekly eat me. Meaning: YOU MAKE NO SENSE! Someone who wants to offer logic cannot in good conscience say a plus b equals c therfore q to the tenth must be four score and seven years ago. How many ways can I try to convey how disillusioned you are….you seem to fancy yourself a prophet…or at the very least one of the only beacons of truth…but the words that actually come out of your mouth make absolutly no sense. While I completely disagree with you ideologically, I would love it if, among your scores of letters, you were able to compose one that: 1. made sense–made me reconsider beleifs; and/or 2. Did not put some human onto a skewer, singing them like a sideshow act to disract others from seeking truth. I’m sure you will write again, do you think you could fulfill those requirements (not for me, but for your own sanity and redemption)

  • I also submit that some shoddy spelling is the result of shoddy editing (including not transcribing correctly). I’m sure than Mr. Brennan knows the difference between “principal” and “principle”. I can’t imagine his letter is the only one butchered. Mine are my own fault–mea culpa, Mr. Brennan.

  • I’m happy that they are exposing the ponzi scheme of the government employee contract, which is systematically driving down the value of our homes and putting many in the poorhouse.