Kravet Inc. was awarded tax breaks on Wednesday for its new headquarters in Woodbury after agreeing to add 30 good-paying jobs to a workforce of 171 people.
The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency last month postponed granting final approval for the 17-year tax deal in hopes of convincing the designer and wholesaler of home furnishings to go beyond a no-layoffs pledge. The company pays its local employees, on average, $94,335 per year.
At the IDA board meetings in October and last month, company president and co-owner Cary Kravet was reluctant to make a hiring commitment, saying the coronavirus had upended workplace regimens and caused a severe recession. Failure to keep employment promises can result in the IDA clawing back the tax benefits.
However, on Wednesday, Kravet acknowledged the IDA’s top priority is job creation, promising to hire 10 additional workers in each of the next three years and give first consideration to qualified Nassau residents.
"I do like to hire people locally," he said. "I think it's good for the economy, it's the right thing to do."
IDA chairman Richard Kessel agreed, saying the family-owned company "will start adding jobs next year during the COVID crisis, which is not a simple thing…We appreciate their understanding that the IDA is all about jobs – especially now."
Addressing another IDA concern, Kravet Inc. will give unionized construction companies the same opportunity as nonunion firms to bid for the $16.1 million project, which involves renovations to 250 Crossways Park Dr. in Woodbury.
The 102-year-old company has been looking for a new home since its Bethpage headquarters was purchased by the MTA for $20 million. The company also has offices in Manhattan, Chicago, South Carolina, Canada, England and France.
Oyster Bay Town and the developers’ group Association for a Better Long Island, or ABLI, endorsed the tax incentives, which include a three-year freeze of property taxes followed by increases of 1.81% per year for 14 years.
ABLI executive director Kyle Strober said Wednesday that Kravet "could have moved its corporate headquarters anywhere. In a pandemic, the Nassau IDA’s ability to not only save 170-plus jobs but also create an additional 30 well-paying jobs is a textbook example of how IDAs have become critical tools in our region's economic development," he said.