Costco seeks tax breaks for eighth LI store

A Costco shopping floor on Oct. 6, 2009. A Costco shopping floor on Oct. 6, 2009. Photo Credit: AP

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Costco Wholesale Corp. is planning its eighth local store, and in a controversial move, wants tax breaks from Nassau County.

The members' shopping club is proposing a 151,000-square-foot store and gasoline station in Oceanside. The $49-million project would be located in the Oil City neighborhood and employ more than 200 people.

Costco has requested tax incentives from the county's industrial development agency. They include a $900,000 sales-tax exemption on the purchase of construction materials and store furnishings, and $162,750 off the mortgage recording tax, according to an application obtained by Newsday under the state's Freedom of Information law.

There were no comments Wednesday at a six-minute public hearing.

The IDA seeking public comment on the project isn't an indication of whether the tax breaks will be granted, said Joseph J. Kearney, the agency's executive director.

Asked about a 2013 state law prohibiting IDAs from aiding retailers, he said the law had loopholes, including one for tourist destinations.

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A Costco consultant estimated the Oceanside store would draw 17,650 members from New York City.

Kearney also said Nassau wants to encourage businesses to find new uses for environmentally contaminated land, such as the Oil City parcel.

The project is on the site of a former oil storage facility.

One advocate for tighter controls on tax breaks for businesses, Kristi Barnes of ALIGN: the Alliance for a Greater New York, said in an interview it was "laughable" to consider Costco a tourism site.

Costco executives at its Issaquah, Washington, headquarters didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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