CALVERTON, N.Y.—Calverton Aviation & Technology (CAT) passed a major milestone in November, when the Riverhead, New York, Town Board voted to approve the sale to CAT of an  approximately 1,643-acre parcel of undeveloped land in eastern Suffolk County, New York. The land was the former Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant at Calverton. Over the next decade, CAT intends to leverage several billions of dollars of private investment to transform its new asset into a world-class aerospace technology, innovation, and high-tech manufacturing hub, according to a release from the land development firm Triple Five Worldwide.

Calverton Aviation & Technology (CAT), located in an Opportunity Zone, is seeking to create a critical mass of companies in a new aerospace cluster. Today, much of the aerospace industry is focused on the development of next generation, ultra-light weight and ultra-strong composites. The CAT Hub will anchor emerging industries around the next-generation carbon and composite production lines of Luminati Aerospace, one of the founding partners of CAT. Calverton Aviation & Technology said in the release that it also plans to invest in advanced electric motor and drive sub-systems, seen as building blocks in the growth of electric aviation.

Unlike incubator models that rented to any interested company, the CAT Hub will seek to provide a synergistic ecosystem with technology infrastructure for an expertly curated group of companies in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergistic companies will range from academic and workforce development institutions, to defense contractors, aerospace companies, and high-tech manufacturers, from start-ups to established businesses.

Because barriers to entry in next generation aerospace industries are critically high, the CAT Hub aims  give its companies an edge over their competitors by centralizing necessary resources, technologies, and production lines. To replenish the Long Island talent pool, CAT intends to bring to the Hub world-class, hands-on education and training that incorporates the entire supply chain. The initial focus will be on training technicians and engineers for the manufacture of composites, as well as CNC machining.

The site is zoned to accommodate 9.8 million square feet of development, and CAT said that it will build a minimum of 1 million square feet within the first five years after the transfer of the property. The site is primed for development with Navy-built infrastructure that includes sewer, freight rail access, and two non-intersecting runways, which at 10,000 feet and 8,000 feet, are said to be two of the longest runways in the country.

The property is a New York State designated Urban Renewal Area, as well as a federally designated HUB zone. In 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Calverton as an Opportunity Zone. The Zone is a new federal program designed to boost private investment in underserved urban and rural communities via tax benefits, such as temporary tax deferrals on capital gains or investment profits. Triple Five, the other Founding Partner of CAT, is creating an Opportunity Zone Fund to invest in the site and other designated zones across the United States.

“We believe working in partnership with New York State, the local community, Suffolk County, and the federal government, we can restore Long Island’s aerospace heritage along with the associated high-tech manufacturing job base—a monumental task formerly thought to be impossible,” said Stuart Bienenstock, who works in business development for Triple Five. “Our goal is to invest into this site and others on Long Island and throughout New York State, including our recent purchase of the former Dowling NATS (National Aviation & Transportation Study) Center in Brookhaven Town, to curate the most significant aerospace projects and propel the Long Island ecosystem to a leadership position in advanced technology.”

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