RIVERHEAD, October 3, 2005 – In a joint statement issued today, Riverhead Supervisor Philip J. Cardinale and Staten Island developer Kenneth I. Wilpon have decided to discontinue the negotiations on the Agreement to sell 755 acres of vacant land at the Town-owned property in Calverton known as EPCAL, the former Grumman site. “The inaccurate statements being made for strictly political gain are having an impact upon our ability to bring the negotiations to a fruitful conclusion” stated Supervisor Cardinale. “In addition, the potential for litigation that might delay the consummation of the transaction was unacceptable to both parties.”
The Supervisor and Mr. Wilpon agreed that any threat of litigation against the Town Board for proceeding with the transaction could be avoided by reissuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the entire parcel proposed to be conveyed for redevelopment. The Town issued an RFP in June, 2004 that focused upon attracting a hotel conference center to the site. The initial RFP resulted in responses from Faulkner USA and Pulte Homes, among others. Supervisor Cardinale has been supportive of the Wilpon proposal to develop the site. “Perhaps broadening the scope of the RFP might produce a more varied result,” Supervisor Cardinale acknowledged. “Although Wilpon’s proposed redevelopment includes only permitted uses, fully complies with zoning and could proceed without need for the issuance of any variances, the Town wants to reopen the potential for redevelopment and reuse of the property which is to remain recreationally zoned to a public process through the reissuance of a more expansive RFP.”
A unanimous Town Board is in the process of rezoning approximately 600 acres of the vacant land at EPCAL from recreational to industrial/office park zoning with the balance of the acreage owned by the Town to remain recreationally zoned. “After the Town rezones the acreage under consideration to industrial, the Town will have approximately 755 acres in the western portion of the property zoned recreational” noted Supervisor Cardinale. “An expanded RFP process will allow all potential proposals and all developers with a concept for the redevelopment of the site consistent with our zoning to come forward with their highest offers and best proposals for the redevelopment of the entire parcel. I have thought this through and this is the best for Riverhead,” the Supervisor affirmed.
Mr. Wilpon reluctantly agreed to the Town’s change in direction on his effort to acquire the EPCAL Property but assured that his interest in the property remains. “I abhor litigation, even when that which would be brought would be without any merit. I know that Mr. Cardinale has been firmly committed to my proposal for the site but I accept the Supervisor’s concern for the process and am prepared to resubmit my proposal for the redevelopment of the property,” Mr. Wilpon offered. “I am confident that my proposal will withstand the competitive process and another round of scrutiny based upon the broader RFP,” Mr. Wilpon added.
A revised RFP could be issued as early as October 20th. The Town encourages all parties interested in making an offer to contact the Town’s Community Development Agency for the RFP specifications. All proposals for redevelopment of the remaining recreationally zoned property shall be forwarded to the Riverhead Development Corporation (RDC) for review. “The process that was established with the creation of the RDC in 1996 will continue to be followed. The RDC’s mission is to remove politics from the process and get the best proposals for the redevelopment of the property,” stated Mr. Cardinale. “I fully expect that the reissuance of the RFP will yield the best results for the taxpayers of the Town of Riverhead,” concluded Supervisor Cardinale.