Calverton Aviation & Technology on Tuesday sent Riverhead Town updated financial information pertaining to its plans to buy 1,643 acres of land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton and create one million square feet of industrial development there.
The submission by CAT was voluntary and came in response to an April 27 letter from the Town Board requesting an update in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had financial implications for businesses throughout the world.
The six-page response, which is posted on the town’s website, came from Arieli Capital, a U.S. holding company, and Midnight Capital Partners LLC of Manhattan. The “letter of interest for an industrial construction loan” from Midnight Capital puts the loan amount at up to $120 million “based on the sources and uses as approved by the lender.”
That figure includes the sale price of the land and the cost to develop it.
The letter, from Arieli Capital chief executive officer Evan Renov, states that they “have been in discussions with Triple Five Real Estate I LLC, the managing member of CAT, regarding their vision, preliminary budget and intended development plan for the property being acquired by CAT.”
Since CAT was already declared a “qualified and eligible sponsor” to buy and develop the land in a split vote in November 2018, it is not required to submit updated financial information.
Chris Kent, an attorney representing CAT, said the company was providing the updated information voluntarily.
CAT had previously sent the town a letter from Goldman Sachs indicating that it had the money to buy and develop the land, at an estimated cost of $160 million.
The updated information arrived Tuesday and was put on the town’s website.
“In an effort to be transparent, I have elected to make the documents available on the website,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said. “They have to be analyzed and assessed.”
The contract between the town and CAT officially expired May 20, which is one year since CAT declared it had completed its due diligence of the property and was ready to proceed.
Either side could pull out of the deal if an eight-lot subdivision, separating the three lots the town plans to sell from the five lots it would retain, was not approved by Wednesday.
But that subdivision application is still awaiting approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Approval from the county health department is also needed.
Ms. Aguiar said the documents “will be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb” but acknowledged that they were submitted in a timely fashion.
“The primary goal here is to preserve the 1,050 acres of environmentally sensitive land forever,” she said.
That acreage was not originally part of the sale until former Supervisor Sean Walter added it to the proposed sale of about 600 acres to Luminati Aerospace LLC.
The deal with Luminati fell apart, but it remains a non-voting owner of 25% of CAT.
Rex Farr, coordinator of the EPCAL Watch Coalition, which has been a vocal critic of the sale, urged Ms. Aguiar to “seize the opportunity to free the town from a very bad deal.”
He said there should be a new transparent bidding process for sale or lease of only the 600 developable acres at EPCAL.
“The immediate question is whether the supervisor and board acknowledge that as of this Thursday they have an indisputable legal opportunity to end the deal and will fulfill their responsibility by exercising it,” he said in a press release.
Mr. Farr also questioned the “unvetted partners” that have been introduced — Arieli Capital and Midnight Capital — which should get “serious attention.”
Mr. Renov’s letter to the town said that their review of the existing infrastructure and development at EPCAL “creates a tremendous opportunity for the development of a diverse next-generation technology hub that we believe will generate a waterfall of investment and positive impacts for the Riverhead community, the economy of Long Island and the entire region.
“Arieli Capital has experience and prior success in developing these types of synergistic technology hubs,” the letter stated.