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Solar company says it would pay $50M for EPCAL land

07/05/2019 6:00 AM |

Riverhead Town last week received a new offer for town-owned land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, with the idea of using the property for solar farms.

The Haugland Group, based in Melville, is seeking to purchase 500 acres at the EPCAL site, using the existing western runway, which is not active, and 275 acres elsewhere on the EPCAL property, for solar panels.

There offer is for $50 million, which is $10 million more than Calverton Aviation & Technology’s offer for 1,463 acres at EPCAL.

But Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said the Town Board cannot consider the offer while it is still negotiating with CAT.

“We are currently in contract so we don’t have the ability to entertain other offers at this time,” she said. “If the CAT proposal were to not go forward, then the property would go back on the market.”

Haugland Group actually made essentially the same offer in 2014, but then-supervisor Sean Walter “never gave them the time of day,” according to Jack O’Connor, the executive managing director of realtors Newmark Knight Frank.

Mr. O’Connor was once Riverhead Town’s exclusive broker on the EPCAL property.

Highland said it could commence work immediately once the deal is closed, and that the offer is not contingent on external financing.

Haugland Group is not alone in proposing solar farms at EPCAL.

In 2018, sPower Solar offered to pay more than $40 million for the same property CAT sought to buy, although the company did not give a specific price.

Ms. Jens-Smith told them the same thing, that the town cannot negotiate that offer while it is still negotiating with CAT. However, sPower initially filed a lawsuit against the town for not allowing them to make the offer but later dropped the lawsuit.

CAT recently agreed to pursue the purchase, and the deal currently is awarding the town’s approval of a subdivision separating the three lots it plans to sell from the five lots it plans to keep.

The subdivision will need approval from state and county agencies, as well.

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