Suffolk-owned land eyed for businesses

Joanne Minieri, Suffolk commissioner of economic development and Joanne Minieri, Suffolk commissioner of economic development and planning. (Aug. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: Chris Ware

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Suffolk County is reviewing the vacant land it owns as potential sites for new businesses.

Joanne Minieri, commissioner of economic development and planning, said her department is examining county-owned parcels at the three campuses of Suffolk County Community College and along major highways for "innovation zones."

The zones could become home to small companies and graduates of technology business incubators. Tenants would receive low-cost space, tax breaks and access to county programs for worker training and housing.

The tax incentives would be granted by the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, said Minieri, who serves on the agency's board of directors.

"We're in the planning stages right now," she said last week in her first appearance before county lawmakers since taking office. "But this would be a public-private partnership" between the county and developers.

County Executive Steve Bellone proposed the innovation zones last year during his successful campaign for office. He has charged Minieri with making them a reality.

No deadline has been set for opening the first zone.

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"We have to do something that is effective, have the appropriate incentives and projects," Minieri said in an interview. "We want to accommodate these businesses and their needs and have them grow."

Asked whether the zones would be limited to particular industries, she said they should not be, though the ideal tenants would be small, fast-growing companies. "This is all about building the economy and creating jobs," she said.

Minieri, an accountant, joined the Bellone administration about 3 ½ months ago after working as a real estate consultant. She also spent 16 years at Brooklyn-based developer Forest City Ratner Cos., serving as president and chief operating officer between 2007 and 2011. Forest City's projects include Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and office towers in Manhattan.

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