The HIA-LI, the trade group for the Hauppauge Industrial Park, has released an economic study that suggests ways to redevelop the more than 50-year-old park and attract the next generation of business owners.
The study calls for housing and retail projects to attract millennial business owners, which it defines as those born between 1980 and 2000.
The park “can greatly improve [its] chances of attracting millennial-owned start-up companies by providing places to shop, live, work and play,” said the study, which was released Wednesday.
Such a change is key to the future growth of the park, HIA president Terri Alessi-Miceli said in an interview.
“Not only are young professionals a growing consumer base, they are entering the workforce at a staggering rate, and millennials in particular are currently the largest segment of the workforce and our future workforce,” she said. “The HIP can be a perfect place to create an innovation hub where startups/millennial-owned businesses can get the resources they need.”
The park, which was established in the early 1960s, is home to about 1,350 businesses and is the largest in the Northeast in terms of density, the report says. About 55,000 people work there, accounting for about one in 20 jobs on Long Island.
To attract more businesses, the complex’s sewer system is being upgraded though a Suffolk County project, and the Town of Smithtown approved rezoning that allows the park to expand existing buildings to a height of 50 feet, up from the current 35-foot limit. Buildings on Vanderbilt Motor Parkway can expand to 62 feet.
With the rezoning, the study says, the park stands to gain an additional 500,000 square feet of space for redevelopment.
“The HIP is currently stagnant in its development due to the lack of room for new businesses,” said the report, which was produced in conjunction with Stony Brook University, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency and the Regional Plan Association. “But with the new overlay the HIP can significantly expand.”
Other suggestions include a parking garage to alleviate congestion from street parking, and additional sidewalks.
CORRECTION: The Hauppauge Industrial Park was founded in the early 1960s and is more than 50 years old. An earlier version of this story misstated when it was established.