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New York Cancer & Blood Specialists plans $12.3M expansion, gets preliminary nod for tax breaks

New York Blood & Cancer Specialists plans to

New York Blood & Cancer Specialists plans to buy and renovate new office space in Ridge.  Here, its facility in Port Jefferson Station. Credit: New York Blood & Cancer Specialists

New York Cancer & Blood Specialists has proposed a $12.3 million expansion, and on Tuesday it won preliminary approval for $1.26 million in tax breaks over 15 years for the project.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency voted unanimously in support of the benefits, including breaks of $1,078,439 on property taxes, $120,750 in sales taxes and $61,200 in mortgage recording taxes. The proposal will come up for a final vote on Nov. 16 after a public hearing, IDA officials said.

The Port Jefferson Station-based company, which provides chemotherapy, infusion therapy, radiation oncology and other services to cancer patients, aims to purchase, renovate and equip a vacant 51,000-square-foot building at 1 Research Way in Ridge. The building will house offices for executive, administrative and support workers who would be relocated from four leased locations in the Port Jefferson area, documents the company filed with the IDA show. The company does not plan to close any offices, it said.

Among the nearly 200 workers at the proposed new location would be 50 new employees New York Cancer & Blood Specialists intends to hire over two years, according to its IDA application. The company said the project also would create 10 to 15 temporary construction jobs.

The company serves 800,000 patients a year and has links with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, among other medical institutions, CEO Dr. Jeff Vacirca told IDA board members Tuesday.

The company said in its application that it has been exploring moving its executive, administrative and support staff out of Suffolk, possibly to Nashville, Tenn., where it has "significant business contacts." Without IDA tax benefits, it would need to "further explore relocation options," the company said.

Under its previous management, when it employed nine doctors, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Central Islip in 2008, the company said in its application for tax benefits. The bankruptcy was discharged in 2011, according to the application. Under its current management, it has experienced "incredible growth," the company said.

The company now has 1,252 employees, earning an average salary of $105,637. Its workers include 150 doctors as well as physician assistants, nurse practitioners and billing, back office and administrative workers.

In Suffolk, it employs 960 people earning an average $88,603, its application shows.

The office jobs in question "could be relocated anywhere, and some networks have already done that," said Anthony J. Catapano, executive director of the IDA. "These are high-paying jobs and a lot of them are technology-based, so it’s important to keep it here on Long Island."

The company plans to keep its current leased offices and use them for health care and research, which is expected to add an additional 20 jobs that are not part of its IDA application, Catapano said.

At the IDA meeting, Vacirca said the company anticipates further growth.

"I’m hopeful that I’m going to need even more space," he said. — with James T. Madore

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