Luminati Aerospace is now partnering with the developers of the two largest indoor shopping malls in North America to purchase most of Riverhead Town’s remaining land at the Calverton Enterprise Park.
Luminati has entered into a written agreement with Triple Five Ventures Co. LLC, an entity owned by the Ghermezian brothers, owners of a multinational conglomerate of companies. The Ghermezian family developed and own the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota and West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada and are currently building the American Dream Meadowlands mega-mall and entertainment center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Ghermezians took over the construction of the multi-billion complex in New Jersey in 2010, after another company’s plan, called Xanadu — which included, ironically, an indoor snow ski park — hit the skids.
“I am pleased to confirm that Triple Five Ventures Co. LLC, an entity owned by the Ghermezian brothers, has entered into a written agreement with Luminati Aerospace LLC to form a joint venture to finance and develop the property,” Luminati Aerospace attorney Robert Hasday said in an email this afternoon.
“The Ghermezian brothers own companies that focus primarily on such industrial development,” Hasday said.
Riverhead Town officials said they learned last week that NYC billionaire John Catsimatidis, who in July announced his interest in providing Luminati Aerospace with financing to buy the Calverton property from the town, was not going to be involved in the deal — and there would be a joint venture with Triple Five Ventures instead.
“We haven’t heard from Luminati for some time,” Catsimatidis spokesperson Nelson Happy said in an email tonight. “We wish them the best!”
A spokesperson for Triple Five Worldwide Group could not immediately be reached for comment.
While known for their ownership of the largest indoor shopping malls and entertainment centers in North America — which they describe as “the first, second, and third world’s largest tourism retail and entertainment complexes” — the Ghermezian brothers have “an extensive portfolio of diverse and independent divisions” that include mixed-use, commercial and industrial developments, entertainment venues, including casinos and sports arenas, and office buildings, according to the Triple Five Worldwide website.
Outgoing Supervisor Sean Walter, whose term ends Dec. 31, said today he will ask the town board to schedule a “qualified and eligible sponsor” hearing on the proposed purchasers for the second meeting in January. A “qualified and eligible sponsor” hearing is required by state law for the sale or lease of land in an urban renewal zone; the Calverton Enterprise Park is a designated urban renewal zone.
The town board is required to determine that the prospective purchasers are “qualified and eligible” to buy and develop the site.
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said she will not vote to schedule the “qualified and eligible” hearing for January. She said she believes Supervisor-elect Laura Jens-Smith and Councilwoman-elect Catherine Kent should have an opportunity to review the contract that’s been negotiated on behalf of the town by outside counsel before scheduling the public hearing.
Councilman Tim Hubbard agreed. “There’s not a lot of available information about them,” he said of the
Ghermezians. “They seem legit in terms of finances. But they’re heavy into retail.”
Jens-Smith said she obtained a copy of the proposed contract from the town late this afternoon and has been invited, along with Kent, to attend the town board’s work session on Thursday morning, when the town’s lawyers will review the contract with the board.
The contract negotiation has been ongoing for several months. The town’s lawyers have advised the board that it is in its final form and the town should move ahead with the Q&E hearing, Walter said today.
“We don’t yet know who is doing what,” Jens-Smith said of Luminati and Triple Five. “These are all questions that need to be asked at the public hearing,” she said.
“If the contract is accepted by the board, I’d like to do the Q&E sooner rather than later so we can make a decision,” she said.
The town signed a letter of intent with Luminati Aerospace in April. In that document, the town agreed to sell most of its remaining acreage at the enterprise park — the former Northrop-Grumman manufacturing plant — to Luminati for $40 million, subject to the negotiation of a “definitive agreement” between the parties. The sale includes “about 1,700 acres,” according to the town supervisor. It is subject to existing zoning at the site, which currently does not allow retail complexes.