The Route 25 entrance to the Calverton Enterprise Park. File photo: Peter Blasl

(Updated – March 5, 5 a.m.) Triple Five has agreed to move forward with the town’s proposal to involve the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency in the $40 million EPCAL land deal, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar announced this afternoon.

“Today, the attorney for Triple Five, Chris Kent, provided this office with a letter of agreement stating Triple Five is moving forward and providing the Town with the assurances necessary to support and move forward with a joint application to transfer the EPCAL property to the IDA,” a press release from the supervisor’s office said.

Kent confirmed to RiverheadLOCAL he has written to the town stating his client has agreed to the town’s proposal.

The town will hold a public forum on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to explain the process, according to the release. The forum will be held at Town Hall and via Zoom. It will also be live-streamed on the town’s website and broadcast live on Optimum Channel 22.

Riverhead’s special counsel Frank Isler outlined the proposal for the public on Feb. 10.

The Riverhead Community Development Agency, which owns the land, would transfer title to nearly all its remaining land at the Calverton Enterprise Park — a total of 2,100 acres — to the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency. The IDA would enter into a “lease and project agreement” with both the Community Development Agency and Triple Five-affiliate Calverton Aviation & Technology that would require CAT to fulfill the intended development plan required by its current purchase agreement with the town.

The “lease and project agreement” would additionally shift the burden of obtaining subdivision and other approvals to CAT, CAT’s expense, Isler said.

Once the “lease and project agreement” is signed, CAT will pay the town the balance of the $40 million purchase price. The process would take about six months, Isler said.

Prior to entering the “lease and project agreement,” the IDA would first determine that CAT has the financial wherewithal to not only pay the purchase price but also to develop the property in accordance with the development plan spelled out in the current purchase agreement, Isler said. Without a determination of CAT’s ability to fulfill its obligations, the IDA would not enter into the “lease and project agreement.”

After the IDA approves, CAT would proceed with the subdivision application. Once the subdivision approval is complete, the IDA would transfer to CAT title to the 1,644 acres that is the subject of the contract of sale between the town and CAT. The IDA would also transfer back to the town the roughly 500 acres dedicated to municipal uses — the ballfields, land for the Calverton Sewer District wastewater treatment facility, the Henry Pfieffer Community Center.

Last month, Triple Five’s attorney said his client had agreed to the framework outlined by Isler.

The town board was expected to vote to authorize the transfer to the IDA and the lease and project agreement at its Feb. 15 meeting, but the resolution was not on the meeting agenda.

Aguiar subsequently said Triple Five requested changes “at the last minute” that the town would not accept.

The supervisor on Feb. 24 said she directed the town attorney to send Triple Five’s attorney a letter giving the purchaser until March 3 to agree in writing to the terms Aguiar said were previously negotiated and agreed to.

At yesterday’s work session, Aguiar said the matter was still being negotiated.

Information on Tuesday’s public forum, including Zoom credentials, will be posted on the Riverhead Town Website, the supervisor’s office said today.

The matter will be brought before the Town Board for a vote “in the near future,” according to the supervisor’s press release.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect communication with Triple Five attorney Christopher Kent subsequent to its initial publication.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.