Luminati in deal to buy giant former Grumman site

Luminati Aerospace has signed a letter of intent to acquire the Town of Riverhead’s 2,300-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton for about $40 million. The deal includes about 600 acres of developable property, buildings and two runways at the site, a former Grumman test facility for the F-14.

Luminati, which is developing solar-powered aircraft and other next-gen avionics, bought a former sky jumping school at the park last year. It plans to expand its own operations and also provide room for other avionics-related businesses, its top executive said.

“This sale represents a highly focused plan to bring back aerospace jobs and manufacturing back to Long Island, the cradle of aviation,” Luminati CEO

Daniel Preston said in a statement. “We will be using this historic facility for exactly what it was intended for when Grumman built it in 1956. By 2022, we project the creation of 2,000 new jobs for Long Island.”

The giant property has been a white elephant for the town, which took control almost two decades ago and has entertained dozens of ideas for its development, including an indoor “ski mountain,” polo grounds and assorted industrial and residential proposals.

All failed to materialize, prompting Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter to gripe that Calverton was the place “bad ideas went to die.”

“Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined reintroducing the aviation and defense industry back to EPCAL to this extent,” Walter said in a town statement. “The Luminati deal will recreate Long Island’s glorious past with the defense and aviation industries and once again positively transform the regional Long Island economy.”

The town will hold a public hearing on the proposed sale and expects to close on the deal before the end of the year.

David Pennetta, David Madigan and Kyle Burkhardt of Cushman & Wakefield represented Riverhead in the deal.

“The property, while being sold to a corporation, is really being sold to an industry, an industry that sustained long Island for 60 years,” Pennetta told InnovateLI. “The romance with engineering and manufacturing still is and has always been the job multiplier. We expect this will hold true with Luminati. We also expect other corporations which will work directly or indirectly with Luminati to co-habitat the site going forward.”

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