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London Jewelers to keep HQ on LI, add eight jobs with IDA tax breaks

The London Jewelers headquarters supports six retail stores

The London Jewelers headquarters supports six retail stores on Long Island, including the flagship store at the Americana shopping center in Manhasset.  Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

High-end retailer London Jewelers will keep its headquarters on Long Island despite receiving less in tax breaks than it asked for, officials said.

The family-owned seller of fine jewelry and watches plans to purchase a 14,000-square-foot building in Glen Head to consolidate back-office operations now spread over three buildings in downtown Glen Cove.

London secured tax breaks for the $2.7 million project last month from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency. However, the property-tax reduction will be over 20 years, five years less than the retailer requested in June.

The property tax rate on the Glen Head office will rise 2% in each of the first nine years, followed by a three-year freeze and 2% increases in each subsequent year, according to the deal approved unanimously by the IDA board.

The 119 Glen Cove Dr. building already receives tax breaks under a 2013 IDA deal for Long Island Industrial Management LLC, which is now selling the building to London. Long Island Industrial has been saving about $77,000 per year on a total property-tax bill of $93,107, records show.

London also secured a sales-tax exemption of up to $56,054 on the purchase of furniture, equipment and fixtures, plus up to $9,720 off the mortgage recording tax.

London’s real estate attorney Daniel P. Deegan said the company looked at moving the headquarters outside Nassau because it has stores across Long Island and in Manhattan and New Jersey.

"This is a back-office operation that could really be located any place…But the commitment to Long Island and Nassau County is strong with this company and with the IDA’s assistance we’d like to keep them here," he told IDA board members before they voted on the tax incentives.

In return, London will add eight people to its office and administrative staff of 46 within three years. Records show the employees earn, on average, $91,000 per year.

The headquarters supports nine retail stores in the metropolitan area, including six on the Island that employ about 200 people. The company began in 1926 as a small shop on Glen Cove's School Street with founder Charles London selling and repairing clocks and watches.

CEO Mark Udell said the IDA aid will help the retailer to remain "viable in a region that we have called home for nearly a century." He and wife Candy are third-generation owners of the business.

"Our plans for the new office will help us improve the quality of our services and keep our company local," Mark Udell said.

IDA chairman Richard Kessel, citing the recession brought on by the coronavirus, said, "at a time when unemployment numbers are as high as they are — any project that not only retains jobs but adds jobs must be taken into consideration."

LONDON JEWELERS AT A GLANCE

What they do: sell fine jewelry and watches

Number of stores: nine in the metropolitan area, including six on Long Island with the flagship at the Americana shopping center in Manhasset

LI employment: about 250 people

History: Started by Charles London in 1926 in Glen Cove to repair clocks and watches

SOURCE: London Jewelers

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