Daniel Preston, an owner of company with stake in Calverton land deal with town, dies at 52

Daniel Preston, an owner of company with stake in Calverton land deal with town, dies at 52

Luminati Aerospace owner Daniel Preston, 52, died Thursday, January 12, at his home in Little Falls, New York.

According to a family friend, the cause was cancer.

Preston’s company is a co-owner of Calverton Aviation & Technology, the company that has struck a $40 million deal with the city of Riverhead to purchase nearly all of the city’s vacant land at Calverton Enterprise Park. Founded in 2017, Calverton Aviation & Technology is a joint venture between Luminati Aerospace and the Triple Five Group.

A memorial service was scheduled to be held in Forest Hills, Queens, this morning, according to an online obituary, followed by a memorial service in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

Preston first came to the city of Riverhead in 2015 when Luminati purchased the 16-acre Skydive Long Island property on the EPCAL campus for $3.4 million. Preston told the Town Board at the time his company was developing solar-powered UAVs that would be used to bring wireless internet to parts of the world that don’t have access. He said he has a Fortune 250 client that is funding Luminati’s research and development project.

Riverhead Town approved a runway use agreement with Luminati in November 2015, giving it control of the site’s active airstrip.

Promising to bring the defense aerospace industry back to Riverhead, Preston held a press event at EPCAL’s site in June 2016, where a “pilot-optional” prototype microlight completed a demonstration flight. Preston announced at the event that he had reached an agreement to manufacture an amphibious aircraft at EPCAL, which he said would be in full production by the end of October. He also announced that Luminati had an agreement to lease the much larger Building Six, a 338,000-square-foot structure where Grumman Aerospace once built fighter jets.

In March 2017, Riverhead Town signed a letter of intent with Preston to sell 1,644 acres of vacant land to Luminati Aerospace or a wholly owned subsidiary of Luminati for US$40 million. The sale would give up a 50-property subdivision of land that Riverhead officials had been working on several years earlier to obtain permits.

In December 2017, a lame City Council voted 3-2 to approve a purchase agreement with Calverton Aviation & Technology, jointly owned by Luminati Aerospace and Triple Five Real Estate I.

Controversial from the start, the proposed sale drew criticism and objections from local residents, civic groups and environmental organizations.

Riverhead Town has been unable to obtain the necessary permits from the State Department of Environmental Conservation for a modified three lot subdivision that will allow the town to transfer ownership to Calverton Aviation & Technology and the sale remains pending.

After revelations of inconsistencies and fabrications about his background, Triple Five chairman Nader Ghermezian told the city council during a public hearing in 2018 that Preston would not have a leadership role in the joint venture, although Luminati would retain a 25% stake in it company would own .

In April 2019, Preston announced that he would be relocating Luminati’s operations to the town of Little Falls, New York, where he had already acquired some commercial properties.

According to documents filed with the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency last year, Preston retained ownership, through a shell company, of the former Skydive Long Island site adjacent to EPCAL’s 10,000-foot airstrip.

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