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Stony Brook U. selected for tax-free business zone

The Stony Brook University campus on Oct. 22,

The Stony Brook University campus on Oct. 22, 2013. Stony Brook was among the first eight universities and community colleges across the state selected for START-UP NY, where expanding companies pay no taxes for up to 10 years if they locate on campuses. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Stony Brook University will be home to one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's tax-free zones for businesses, officials confirmed Friday.

Stony Brook was among eight public colleges from across the state to be selected for START-UP NY. Under the program, expanding companies pay no state and local taxes for up to 10 years if they locate on a campus and create jobs. Their employees pay no state income tax for up to 10 years.

The schools were notified this week of their selection by Empire State Development, the state's primary business-aid agency. ESD also will approve the companies that receive the tax relief.

Stony Brook plans to reserve 172,500 square feet of office and lab space, including 12,500 square feet at the Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center, for START-UP NY recipients. It also could build on 240 acres.

To be eligible for the tax breaks, companies must be new to New York State, recently graduated from a state-recognized incubator, be returning to the state or be an existing business that's starting a new operation.

On Long Island the program is limited to startups and high-technology businesses involved in industries such as biotechnology, advanced materials and information technology.

Stony Brook president Samuel Stanley Jr. said its START-UP NY proposal "will prove beneficial to our students, faculty, researchers and businesses that relocate or expand here" and that, in turn, will boost the economy.

About 1,000 businesses from across the globe have expressed interest in the new state program, officials said. Stony Brook spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said more than 75 companies, some local and some from as far away as Ohio, have contacted the university.

START-UP NY was initially designed to aid upstate, but ESD spokesman Jason Conwall said it would expand the attraction of Stony Brook's research to businesses. "The START-UP NY program will build on SUNY Stony Brook's ingenuity, creating jobs and boosting Long Island's economy for years to come," he said.

Local private colleges are expected to learn later this month whether they will host tax-free zones. Their applications are being judged by a three-member board.

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