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Top Stories 2019: EPCAL sale to CAT progresses

As a result of November’s elections, both the sitting 2019 Riverhead Town Board and the incoming 2020 board now have a majority that favors moving forward with the sale of 1,643 acres of town-owned land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton for $40 million.
Late last year, the Town Board voted 3-2 along party lines to declare CAT a “qualified and eligible sponsor” to buy and develop the land — and the board’s Republican majority continues to support the sale.
The two Democrats have said that CAT has yet to show it has the finances to buy the land and build the infrastructure as required in the contract with the town. Republicans say they believe CAT, headed by Triple Five Group, which owns the Mall of America in Minnesota, will be able to build out the site in accordance with the aviation and technology uses it has planned. CAT representatives told the Town Board in August that they envisioned EPCAL as “the Silicon Valley of the East.”
The next step in the process requires the town Planning Board to approve an eight-lot subdivision at EPCAL that separates the three lots CAT will buy from the five the town will keep. The deadline for the subdivision is May 15, 2020.
Triple Five ran into some difficulty in 2019, when Stuart Bienenstock, who had been the point man in the company’s dealings with the town, was replaced at the town’s request following the release of a New Jersey appeals court ruling upholding fraud charges against a group Mr. Bienenstock was part of in 2012.