LIU Post wins approval for START-UP NY tax-free zone

LIU Post in Brookville on April 14, 2013.

LIU Post in Brookville on April 14, 2013. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

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ALBANY -- State officials Tuesday approved a tax-free zone for businesses at LIU Post, making it the first private college on Long Island to enter the START-UP NY program.

The three-member board, meeting in the state Capitol here, unanimously endorsed Post's plan for the 6,721-square-foot zone, to be located in a former Gold Coast mansion on the Brookville campus.

The 1919 house, now called Bush-Brown Hall, was designed by architect John Russell Pope, who also created the Jefferson Memorial in Washington.

The LIU Post zone joins others at Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College. Technology startups and other companies selected for the zones will pay no state and local taxes for up to 10 years, and their employees will pay no state income tax for up to 10 years.

After Tuesday's meeting of the START-UP NY Approval Board, its chairman, Andrew Kennedy, praised Post, saying its zone "will attract companies to the university and help students to start up their own businesses."

Board member Abraham Lackman, a former president of the state association of private colleges, said he was impressed by the plan to involve zone tenants with LIU Post's College of Management through student internships and other activities.

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Post President Kimberly R. Cline thanked the board and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday night, saying the zone "enables LIU to assume a pivotal role in local economic development, leveraging our extensive university resources and expertise for the greater good."

Winning a START-UP NY zone is part of Cline's drive to expand business offerings at Post.

The university has asked the Cuomo-appointed Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for state funds toward the $2.6-million cost of converting Bush-Brown Hall into a 10,000-square-foot business incubator that incorporates the tax-free zone. Last week, the council recommended a $500,000 grant to Albany officials.

Cline also brought another incubator, ThoughtBox@LIU, to the Brookville campus in December from Hicksville. ThoughtBox primarily serves information technology startups that have backing from local venture capital firm Canrock Ventures.

It was unclear last night what role, if any, Brookville-based Canrock or ThoughtBox would play in the Bush-Brown Hall incubator. LIU Post made no mention of Canrock or ThoughtBox in its START-UP NY application.

Canrock managing director Mark Fasciano did not immediately respond to an email message Tuesday requesting comment.

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