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Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits weighs expansion on LI or in N.J.

Southern, which is based in Miami and has a warehouse in Elizabeth, N.J., is seeking help from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency to purchase 425 Underhill Blvd.

Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits has several buildings

Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits has several buildings on Underhill Boulevard in Syosset.

A liquor distributor is weighing whether to expand in Syosset or in New Jersey, officials said.

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits is seeking additional tax breaks from Nassau County to add to the company’s string of facilities along Underhill Boulevard in Syosset. More than 1,060 people work there now.

The company, founded in 1909 in Dallas by Louis Glazer to sell flavored soda water, sells more than $20 billion annually in wine, champagne, whiskey, vodka and other hard liquor to customers in 30 states. The company entered the metropolitan area in 2004 with the purchase of Premier Wines & Spirits in Syosset for an undisclosed amount.   

Thomas Romeo, controller for Southern’s New York State operations, said this month the company “has a warehouse facility in New Jersey with depots in Long Island City, Queens, and Brooklyn. Accordingly, [the company] has the option of moving its expansion efforts into the New Jersey warehouse while being able to serve Manhattan and Long Island through the depots,” he said in an application for tax breaks from the county.

The New Jersey warehouse, in Elizabeth, is 286,000 square feet and opened last year.

Southern, which is based in Miami, is seeking help from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency to purchase 425 Underhill Blvd., an 80,000-square-foot building that’s adjacent to its 467,000-sqaure-foot office and warehouse spread over multiple buildings.

The price tag for buying and renovating 425 Underhill is estimated to be $10 million.

Southern’s property taxes on 313-345 Underhill have been reduced since 2006 because of an earlier IDA incentive package that expires next year. The company now is requesting a 10-year extension of the property-tax savings on its existing property plus 425 Underhill, which it wants to buy, according to Daniel P. Deegan, Southern’s real estate attorney.

Southern also has asked for a sales-tax exemption of up to $129,400 for the purchase of construction materials and equipment, and $45,000 off the mortgage recording tax.

In return for further IDA help, he said the company will increase its job commitment from 750 employees to 900. Average salaries range from $56,070 to $153,000 per year, excluding medical insurance and retirement benefits, records show.

Deegan said the size of Southern’s local workforce “could be higher” than its 900 commitment, but “we need the flexibility to go up and down, we do go up and down as we lose and gain customers,” he told the IDA board.

Earlier this month, the board agreed unanimously to negotiate an incentive package for Southern.

IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said Southern “has always been in compliance on its job commitment” since 2006.

IDA board chairman Richard Kessel added, “It’s certainly a worthy investment on the part of the IDA.”

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