Upscale retailer London Jewelers is seeking more than $1 million in tax breaks over 25 years to move its headquarters to Glen Head instead of outside Nassau County, officials said.
The family-owned seller of fine jewelry and watches wants to purchase a vacant office building at 1 Underhill Rd. to consolidate operations now spread over three buildings in downtown Glen Cove.
The $2.7 million project would add seven jobs over three years to the London headquarters staff of 46 people. Their annual salaries, on average, are $91,000, according to the company’s application for tax incentives from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.
The IDA board agreed last week to begin negotiations with London executives on a possible aid package.
The London headquarters supports nine retail stores in the metropolitan area, including six on Long Island that employ about 200 people. The company began in 1926 as a small shop on Glen Cove’s School Street, where founder Charles London sold and repaired clocks and watches.
London CEO Mark Udell, in the aid application, said the company needs the proposed 14,000-square-foot headquarters “in order to remain competitive within its industry.” He said the office “can be located in any location within the tri-state region.”
Udell and his wife Candy are third-generation owners of London. Starting in 1980, the couple expanded the company beyond Glen Cove to include the flagship location at the Americana shopping center in Manhasset and stores at Wheatley Plaza in Greenvale, Westfield World Trade Center mall in lower Manhattan, the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey, and in downtowns in East Hampton and Southampton.
London’s current headquarters operation “is inefficient” and needs to be consolidated under one roof, the company’s real estate attorney Daniel P. Deegan told the IDA board last week. “This is a big undertaking for the organization and it’s really not possible without the IDA’s assistance,” he said.
The Underhill Road building, which is located off Glen Cove Road and south of the Glen Head Country Club, already receives IDA tax breaks. The current owner, Long Island Industrial Management LLC, is saving about $77,000 per year in property taxes on a total bill of $93,017, according to London.
The property tax reduction, which began in 2013 and will expire in 2029, would be replaced by another reduction for London, if negotiations with the IDA are successful, Deegan said.
London has become well known in the past 90 years for selling watches and jewelry by Cartier, Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Patek Philippe, Rolex and David Yurman, among others, said IDA chairman Richard Kessel.
“They are a hallmark company” for Long Island, he said. “We’re proud to have Nassau County being their headquarters.”