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Proposed Amazon warehouse in Syosset seeks $3 million in tax breaks

The old Cerro Wire property in Syosset is

The old Cerro Wire property in Syosset is being considered for a 204,000-square-foot Amazon warehouse. Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

Developers of the Amazon warehouse proposed for the old Cerro Wire property in Syosset are requesting more than $3.3 million in tax breaks from Nassau County, records show.

The 204,000-square-foot warehouse would open next year. It would operate around the clock with 32 tractor trailer trucks bringing in merchandise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day, followed by 344 vans arriving after 10 a.m. to make deliveries to customers’ homes, according to an application for tax incentives from the county’s Industrial Development Agency.

The $72 million project would redevelop a 39-acre site where proposals for a luxury mall and housing and retail complex were scuttled by strong opposition from residents and school officials who were concerned about traffic congestion and noise. The land requires further environmental cleanup before construction can start, the application states.

Amazon would employ at least 150 managers and laborers at the one-story warehouse. Managers would earn $60,000 per year and laborers $15 per hour. The yearly payroll would be more than $5 million. Hundreds of independent contractors would drive the delivery vans, according to the 72-page application posted on the IDA's website.

At least 850 jobs would be created when truck drivers and delivery personnel are included in the employment projection, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said on Thursday.

The Syosset warehouse would be Amazon’s fourth on Long Island for making "last-mile deliveries to customers." The retailer has similar facilities in Bethpage and Shirley, and plans for one in Carle Place. However, they are all significantly smaller than the proposed Syosset warehouse, records show.

"The applicant is proposing development of … land located at the intersection of Robbins Lane and Miller Place in Syosset, N.Y. for use as an e-commerce last-mile distribution facility for consumer products," Amazon director of economic development Holly Sullivan and Simon Property Group attorney Steven E. Fivel wrote in the aid application.

Simon, an operator of malls including Roosevelt Field in Garden City, has formed a partnership, called Syosset Park Development LLC, with Castagna Realty Co., owner of the Americana shopping center in Manhasset. Syosset Park would rent the warehouse to Amazon.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday. Syosset Park officials didn't respond to requests for comment or weren't available.

Syosset Park and Amazon are asking the IDA for a sales-tax exemption of up to $2.8 million on the purchase of construction materials, equipment and fixtures, plus up to $537,750 off the mortgage recording tax.

They also are requesting a 15-year reduction in future property taxes. The current property-tax bill is $1.2 million per year, according to the aid application.

Syosset Park and Amazon are expected to make a presentation to the IDA board on Oct. 22 followed by a board vote on whether to begin negotiations for a tax deal.

If tax breaks aren’t forthcoming, Sullivan and Fivel said Amazon "has the ability to operate anywhere within the tristate area or open multiple smaller-scale facilities."

Amazon did not seek tax breaks for its last-mile warehouse in Shirley or the one planned for Carle Place.

IDA chairman Richard Kessel said, "In these days, every job that we can get is important to our local economy" because of the coronavirus-induced recession. Citing previous controversy over the Cerro site, he said, "The IDA board will be very cautious, careful, and take all public input on this project before we go forward."

One civic association, Residents for a More Beautiful Syosset, opposes government aid for the wealthy developers because they "don't need taxpayers to subsidize and shoulder the burden of more than $3.3 million in tax breaks to make this venture profitable," association president Laura Schultz, who closely follows the IDA, said on Thursday.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "Tax breaks are really important to get people here; it's a very competitive marketplace. This project is private investment and job creation that we need" given the recession.

Saladino agreed, saying Oyster Bay has been working to address residents' concerns, including a requirement that most delivery vans use the service road of the Long Island Expressway to access the Amazon warehouse. "We've listened to the public," he said. "We feel very strongly that this [Syosset Park-Amazon] application and the process they will go through with the town will alleviate the concerns and fears of the community."

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