An artist's rendering of the proposed 77,000-square-foot warehouse and office...

An artist's rendering of the proposed 77,000-square-foot warehouse and office at 1700 Walt Whitman Rd. in Melville. Credit: bld architecture

The longtime operators of Rubie’s Costume Co. want to build an $11.5 million warehouse and office in Melville for use by small distribution or manufacturing companies, executives said.

Marc and Howard Beige, who’ve spent decades outfitting children and adults for Halloween, plan to construct the 77,000-square-foot building near the corner of Baylis and Walt Whitman Roads. The 5.8-acre site is across from the Northgate housing development and the now-closed Newsstand Deli.

The parcel is one of two that the men have owned since about 2010 on Baylis Road between Walt Whitman and Broad Hollow roads.

“A building with a high ceiling is pretty flexible as far as what it can be used for … any kind of manufacturing or warehousing or distribution,” Marc Beige told the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency last week, referring to a proposed ceiling height of 40 feet to accommodate storage racks.

While no leases have been signed for the proposed warehouse at 1700 Walt Whitman Rd., Beige said its location near the Route 110 corridor and Long Island Expressway will be a key selling point.

The IDA board voted unanimously to grant preliminary approval for $1.2 million in tax breaks to support the project. The largest savings will come from a sales-tax exemption of up to $615,825 and a property-tax break of $567,397 over 10 years, or a 21% savings.

IDA member Brian Beedenbender said the new warehouse would generate more property-tax revenue even with the agency’s help than if the land remained vacant: $2.1 million over the next decade compared with $647,860.

The site was cleared in December after the longtime office-turned-warehouse on the property was judged unfit for rehabilitation. It had been used by check processing company ADP Inc. until 2008, then by Rubie’s Costume and briefly by a local Walmart store to keep holiday merchandise.

The Beige family had proposed to replace the aging building with apartments and offices before the COVID-19 pandemic sparked an increase in online shopping and therefore demand for warehouse space to accommodate same-day and one-day deliveries.

Guy W. Germano, the family's real estate attorney, pledged that the planned warehouse wouldn’t lie vacant for years like some larger warehouses in Suffolk.

“This is not a mega distribution warehouse — which may have been overbuilt on Long Island — but a much smaller building designed to provide warehouse/industrial space for mid-size and small companies which remain the backbone of local industry,” he said.

Kelly Murphy, the IDA’s acting executive director, agreed, adding that “demand for this size of warehouse still exists in the county, especially if it’s brand new.”

Much of the manufacturing and distribution work of Rubie’s Costume has left Long Island in recent years for Wisconsin, South Carolina, Arizona and overseas.

Rubie’s Costume filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors in April 2020 and months later emerged with a new name, Rubies II LLC, and additional investors, making the Beige family minority stakeholders.

The company’s warehouses at 1770 Walt Whitman Rd. and 540 Broad Hollow Rd. were to be rented by Amazon, Newsday reported in February 2021.

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