Feasibility study for Calverton site planned

Sporting Complex On Horizon?

Selling $40 million worth of land in Calverton to the developer of a high-tech aerospace center in Calverton earlier this month apparently did not satiate Riverhead Town officials. They are entertaining a proposal to build a sports complex nearby.

“It was brought to us by the CDC (Community Development Fund),” said Town Supervisor Laura Jens Smith, who confirmed the town has some interest in pursuing the idea further.

Sports Facilities Advisory of Clearwater, FL, wants to do a feasibility study and determine what kind of facility would best benefit Riverhead Town. “They came to us,” Lens-Smith said. The initial cost for the study would be $25,000. SFA would require an additional 3 percent of the entire project up front should the sides decide to partner up.

The town’s 90-acre Veterans Memorial Park, which opened in 2013, was carved out of the 2900-acre former Grumman site by the town and dedicated as parkland. So far, they have developed about 60 acres with locally used ball fields and a dog park. The site is west of the 1600-acre site the board recently sold to Calverton Aviation and Technology. Jens-Smith said the board and SFA spoke in broad strokes; no specific uses were mentioned. Typically, SFA has been involved in covered baseball diamonds, tennis courts, roller and hockey rinks, and indoor sports like wall climbing.

“That’s what a feasibility study is for,” Jens-Smith said. “It could it be a great community park. It could be a regional destination center.”

SFA is “a strategic planning company for sports and recreational facilities,” Riverhead Community Development Agency administrator Dawn Thomas told the town board in October.

The company website maintains it can fund, plan, identify partners, invest or do whatever is necessary to bring the right project to fruition. It is currently working on projects in Shenandoah Valley;
Hillsborough, NJ; and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, some developers in Suffolk County have their sights set on developing a sports complex to rival those in the big city boroughs — Nassau Coliseum, Barclays Center, and the like.

A proposal for a 17,500-seat arena designed to lure a professional sports team to Suffolk County has been selected as the centerpiece for development of a 40-acre parcel between MacArthur Airport and the Ronkonkoma train station, a county spokesman said. That’s about as far as the idea has gotten, proponents acknowledge.

A committee selected a bid from Chicago real estate developer Jones Lang LaSalle and investment banker Ray Bartoszek to be the property’s master developer, Suffolk spokesman Jason Elan said recently, according to Newsday. The planned sports and entertainment venue would be nearly the same size as a new 19,000-seat arena the New York Islanders are preparing to build about 40 miles west at Belmont Park.

Bartoszek lives in Big Sky, MT, and reportedly has a home in Southampton.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com