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Liquor distributor wins tax breaks after threatening move to N.J.

Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits has several buildings

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

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, a liquor distributor in Syosset, has won an additional 10 years of tax breaks for its sprawling complex on Underhill Boulevard.

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency voted unanimously last week to freeze the property tax rate on 313-345 and 425 Underhill for three years followed by increases of 1.84 percent in each of the next seven years. The total savings to Southern would be $18 million, according to one estimate.

The 313-345 buildings, which together are 467,000 square feet, were awarded IDA tax breaks in 2006 that don’t expire until next year, when the new deal kicks in.

The 425 building is being purchased by Southern as part of a $10.1 million expansion. In addition to the property tax reduction, the company received a sales-tax exemption of up to $129,400 on the purchase of construction materials and supplies for the 80,000-square-foot building, and up to $45,000 off the mortgage recording tax.

In return, Southern, which is based in Miami, has increased its job commitment from 750 employees to 900; it now has more than 1,060 in Syosset.

The company, with annual sales in excess of $20 billion, had said it would expand in New Jersey if Nassau didn’t provide the tax breaks.

The additional tax breaks for Southern were opposed by the Syosset Central School District and the 200-member Residents for a More Beautiful Syosset.

Laura Schultz, president of the residents’ group, said last week that it “questions the value of the benefits that the Syosset community receives from this IDA project versus the tax revenue that is lost and that must be made up by the local residential homeowners.”

Southern’s real estate attorney Daniel P. Deegan responded, saying the company’s local payroll totals $150 million per year and “it could move to New Jersey in a heartbeat. It’s very easy to move.”

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