D'Addario gets tax break, plans expansion

Jim D'Addario, in an undated photo, at his Jim D'Addario, in an undated photo, at his Farmingdale plant that makes guitar strings. Photo Credit: Handout

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A manufacturer of guitar strings and other musical instrument accessories plans to expand its East Farmingdale operation to bring in work now done in New England.

D'Addario & Co. wants to construct a 20,000-square-foot addition to a building it rents on Marcus Drive. The family-owned business also will make improvements to 540 and 595 Smith St.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency Thursday approved $755,565 in tax breaks to support enlarging 99 Marcus Dr. Much of the savings, $648,000, is derived from a reduction in property taxes over 15 years.

The $2-million project will add 20 jobs to D'Addario's local workforce of 761. Employees earn $45,072, on average, per year, records show.

Robert Dodaro, chief financial officer, said the company hopes to create a "campus type of arrangement. We also would like to move some of our manufacturing from out of state to Long Island."

That move would likely involve work done at a wire mill in Massachusetts.

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In December, D'Addario received $1.9 million in tax credits from New York State to support its expansion, including the return of production now done in China.

The Suffolk development agency also gave final approval Thursday to a policy change that allows for granting more generous tax breaks when companies agree to grow significantly in the county.

For the first time, the IDA's board of directors will be empowered to lower a business' current property tax bill. Previously, they could only freeze taxes and limit increases over a number of years.

Board members, acknowledging the impact of tax reductions on school districts and local governments, vowed to use the property-tax cut sparingly -- in cases where the business is crucial to Suffolk. D'Addario is the first to benefit.

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Other revisions to the agency's tax exemption policy, established in 1993, include lengthening property-tax breaks from 10 to 20 years and requiring companies to meet multiple goals for job creation and investment in buildings and equipment over the life of the tax incentives, according to IDA secretary Steve Rossetti, who led the four-member committee that proposed the amendments.

David Rosenberg, the IDA's vice chairman, noted it was codifying some practices used recently to support the new Canon headquarters in Melville and to bring hearing-aid maker Widex to Hauppauge from Queens.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has pushed the agency to enhance its business incentives, citing his experience as Babylon Town supervisor with that town's IDA. "This policy is an important new tool to create and retain jobs," he said.

The Suffolk IDA also approved $154,888 in tax breaks over 10 years for a $2.5-million expansion by three companies owned by entrepreneur Alexander J. Caro. They are Arrow Security, a supplier of security guards, and Strategic Nurse Staffing and Community Care Companions, both providers of health care services. Caro plans to move the companies' administrative offices from Bohemia to a former 84 Lumber facility in Smithtown. Together they employ 650 people, who earn, on average, $23,077 a year.

In other business, the IDA:
* Approved tax breaks for a proposed warehouse/factory building in the Heartland Business Park in Edgewood. There are not yet tenants for the $7 million project.

* Backed Peconic Bay Medical Center’s plan for a satellite facility in Manorville, to be built by developer Bauer Associates. The three buildings are part of a larger 17-acre project.

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* Supported IDA Executive Director Anthony Manetta’s request for $22,000 to develop a new agency website and marketing brochures.

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