The glass and metal fabricator that helped Manhattan's famous red-tailed hawks Pale Male and Lola return to their Fifth Avenue perch in 2005 is planning a $4.8-million expansion.
Champion supplies glass stairs, curtain walls, and atriums, as well as ornamental railings and other metal products. Its work can be seen in the JetBlue terminal at Kennedy Airport, Yankee Stadium, the World Trade Center site and Farmingdale State College's bioscience park.
"We've got to get out of the building we're in because we're so cramped up," Ali Ghahremani, the company's founder and owner, said Thursday, referring to 45 E. Industry Ct. in Deer Park. "The new building will allow us to grow."
He told the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency that much of his business is in Manhattan for Bovis, Tishman, Turner and other big construction companies. Sales totaled $26.5 million in 2011, according to the trade journal U.S. Glass, and he said they could increase between $5 million and $10 million once the expansion is completed.
While its products are visible to building users, Champion gained notice in December 2004 with the installation of a 300-pound, stainless steel basket for Pale Male and Lola. The hawks had been driven from their 12th-floor nest at 927 Fifth Ave. after tenants complained about pigeon and rat carcasses left over from the birds' meals.
Actress Mary Tyler Moore and other tenants joined animal-rights activists in persuading the co-op board to install Champion's basket so the hawks could rebuild their nest and to alleviate concerns about the carcasses dropping on tenants and passersby.
Pale Male and Lola started a new family but she disappeared in 2010. He has since had two other mates.
The hawks weren't mentioned in Champion's application for $294,962 in tax breaks, including a $225,756 reduction in property taxes over 10 years.
The IDA approved the request, noting the company has pledged to add 10 people to its payroll of 53 by 2016. Wages, on average, total $88,000 per year, records show.
The company is nonunion but hires about 70 union workers part-time for installations.
IDA chairman Paul J. Tonna said, "This is the type of project I hope we see more of."
The IDA also awarded a $16,000 sales-tax exemption to Greenstone Tires Corp. for $860,650 worth of improvements to its rented factory at 39 Drexel Dr. in Bay Shore. The small business retreads used tires, primarily for the taxi industry, said founder Kambiz Yaghoobian.