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Town releases Luminati contract; passenger air and housing prohibited

Riverhead Town has made public the proposed contract for the $40 million sale of about 1,600 acres of town land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton to Calverton Aviation & Technology, a jointly-owned venture between Luminati Aerospace LLC and Triple Five Ventures Co. LLC.

The contract was made available on the town’s web site late Friday as well as in the Town Clerk’s office. (Read the entire agreement below).

A one-page “intended development plan” for the site also was released, and states that development of aviation, technology and supportive uses are the primary emphasis of the development plans.

The contract also specifically prohibits the development of passenger airline service at EPCAL and says that restrictions will be included in the deed, upon closing of the deal, that there will be no residential uses at the property.

Calverton Aviation & Technologies will first need to prove it has the finances and ability to carry out its intended plan for the site, and that will be done through a “qualified and eligible sponsor” hearing at the Jan. 17 Town Board meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

Luminati Aerospace, headed by Daniel Preston, had purchased the former Sky Dive Long Island site at EPCAL in October 2015 as part of a plan to build solar powered drones to beam wireless internet down to earth.

The Town Board had previously declared them “qualified and eligible” to use the town runway at EPCAL.

In early 2017, Mr. Preston announced that he was now seeking to buy most of the town’s land at EPCAL, of which officials said that only about 600 acres that were deemed developable by the state. The bike path, a Grumman memorial, some ball fields and parks and land where the sewer system is located are among the land the town will retain.

Initially, Mr. Preston said they had a client whose name was confidential, but whom Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said was Facebook after that deal fell apart.

With support for Luminati waning due to the discovery of prior lawsuits and liens against Mr. Preston, it was announced in July that United Refining Energy Corp., headed by billionaire John Catsimatidis, was “highly interested” in providing funding to Luminati. That deal fell apart in December, and Triple Five, a company best known for owning huge shopping malls like the Mall of America in Minnesota, quickly stepped in as a partner with Luminati in mid-December.

The “intended development plan” for the EPCAL site filed by CA&T calls for identifying prospective businesses to locate at the property, including Luminati, as well as “companies that will support Luminati’s operations,” including companies involved in metal, defense, aircraft servicing, engineering, and others, according to the plan.

Businesses that can benefit from the use of the runways, technology businesses that will have a synergistic relationship with other companies located at or near the site, and the Federal Aviation Administration are also mentioned in the plan.

The contract contains language prohibiting commercial passenger airport, and it prohibits the site from being included on aviation charts or maps as a fixed base operator, which provides services like refueling, aircraft manufacturing or hangaring, among other things, to the public.

The intended development plan calls for CA&T to build at least one million square feet of commercial and development space at EPCAL within five years of acquiring the property.

“Primary emphasis shall be on the development of aviation, technology and supportive uses, in addition to those uses permitted under Town Code,” the plan states.

The town’s EPCAL zoning permits up to 300 attached residential units as a supportive use to primary uses such as manufacturing and light industrial uses “that promote economic development.”

Mr. Preston has publicly said he doesn’t plan residential development on the site, and the inclusion of housing in the zoning has been opposed by at least two Town Board members as well as some businesses that are currently located in EPCAL.

The contract with CA&T also requires the company to spend at least $1 million on infrastructure improvements to the runways on the site.

Also, it calls for retaining the town’s bike and recreation path at EPCAL and calls for a 25-foot non-development buffer along both Route 25 and Grumman Boulevard.

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Agreement of Sale by Timesreview on Scribd