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Town Board, CAT formally sign agreement to advance sale of EPCAL land

The Riverhead Town Board and Calverton Aviation & Technology signed an agreement Tuesday to make a joint application to the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency.

The application is for the transfer of title of the more than 1,643 acres from the Town — in its role as Community Development Agency — to the IDA, in order to expedite the sale and redevelopment of the property. 

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar signed the letter Tuesday and Justin Ghermezian, the managing member of CAT, had actually signed it around March 23, officials said. 

Last month, the Town Board voted to make an application to the IDA to transfer title of all acreage it owns at EPCAL to the Riverhead IDA in order to facilitate the sale and transfer of the EPCAL property, minus the land owned by the town, such as the sewer district and parks. 

This action allows the sale to advance prior to the completion of the subdivision — the main component holding up the sale, officials said.

The Town received title to the 2,900-acre former Grumman property from the Navy in September 1998.  The town was given the land for the purpose of economic redevelopment.  

On Nov. 19, 2018, the town entered into an agreement to sell approximately 1,643 acres of property to CAT for $40 million. The deal has yet to close, in part out of difficulty getting the state to approve a subdivision. Town officials hope this proposal will accelerate that process. 

“It will be nice to get the property back on the tax rolls, to create high paying jobs,” Mr. Ghermezian told reporters after Tuesday’s vote.

CAT has said it will have technology and aviation uses. CAT is 75% owned by Triple Five Group, which is best known for shopping malls and entertainment ventures.   

Chris Kent, the attorney representing CAT, said he expected an application before the IDA to happen around August.

“With the exception of the industrial core, the majority of EPCAL has been off the tax rolls since Grumman left in the mid-1990s,” Ms. Aguiar said in a press release. “As a result of this bold action by the Riverhead Town Board to utilize the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency, all taxing districts within the Town of Riverhead, including the town, school, library and special districts, will finally generate property taxes and, perhaps, more importantly, the Town of Riverhead will finally benefit from the economic development potential.”