The effort to make Long Island’s largest industrial park more appealing to millennial workers took a step forward Thursday with Suffolk County granting tax breaks to a proposed $7 million office building.
Developer Craig J. Padover said he wants to construct a four-story building at one of the entrances to the Hauppauge Industrial Park. The structure will have restaurants on the first floor and open, airy offices on the upper floors, he said.
The 35,000-square-foot building will replace an industrial building at 410 Motor Pkwy. that once housed a costume and balloon business.
Padover said he hopes the project will be appealing to technology, media and marketing companies that rely on young workers who want office space with natural light, large windows, a rooftop deck and fewer interior walls.
He likened the space to lofts found in New York City and said he hopes the building will serve as “a model that can reshape the future of the industrial park."
Padover told the county's Industrial Development Agency on Thursday, "We hope this is a beginning of a change where we attract millennials instead of losing them" to New York City and other urban centers.
The IDA awarded Padover $742,300 in tax breaks, including $288,750 off property taxes over 10 years, or a 27.5 percent reduction. The developer will save $401,100 in sales taxes on construction materials and equipment for the building.
The building’s future tenants, which have yet to be determined, are projected to employ a total of 109 people by 2021, according to Padover. He estimated that tenant employees will earn, on average, $59,300, excluding medical and retirement benefits.
Advocates for the industrial park, home to 1,350 businesses with 55,000 employees, are seeking to make it a walkable community with apartments, recreation, entertainment and new offices. The reinvention is being led by the HIA-LI, which represents businesses in the park and its supporters.
Many of the Island’s largest manufacturers, including drugmakers and biotechnology startups, are located in the industrial park.
In January, HIA-LI announced the start of a one-year examination of the park's future needs, both for employers and employees. The study, to be conducted by the Regional Plan Association in Manhattan, will be paid for by the IDA from a $100,000 research and planning fund.
The building that received preliminary approval for IDA tax breaks on Thursday is among the first to benefit from a recent Town of Smithtown zoning change that allows for taller buildings.
“It is encouraging to see the [real estate] market at a point where companies are able to take advantage of” the zoning change by Smithtown, IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano said. “The Suffolk IDA is pleased to play its part in making this project a reality.”