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Suffolk grants breaks to retain Festo, Voxx operations

The exterior of Voxx offices at 180 Marcus

The exterior of Voxx offices at 180 Marcus Blvd. in Hauppauge on Jan. 13, 2015. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

In an effort to retain about 350 local jobs, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency has granted tax breaks to two companies that previously announced plans to move substantial portions of their operations off Long Island.

Festo Corp., a German seller of factory automation equipment, with U.S. headquarters in Hauppauge, and Voxx International, a maker of automotive audio electronics with facilities in Hauppauge, were granted the breaks Thursday for building renovation projects.

Festo plans to move operations from two facilities in Hauppauge into a roughly 62,000-square-foot building at 41 Pinelawn Rd. in Melville, spending $17 million to buy and renovate the new location.

The company announced plans to move its manufacturing operations off the Island in 2013, and recently invested $50 million to buy 45 acres in Mason, Ohio, to build a new facility. Festo will take about 140 of the 270 jobs currently on Long Island to Ohio. It plans to add about 17 jobs to its remaining Island workforce, an outside spokesman said.

State and county officials offered "aggressive and substantial" tax break packages to prevent the move, but the company will better serve a larger percentage of its customer base from Ohio, the spokesman said.

The IDA approved Festo for a sales tax exemption of up to $162,150, and a 10-year abatement with a 50 percent reduction in existing property taxes for the first year.

Voxx announced in January that it would relocate its manufacturing operations to Orlando, Florida, but that it would keep a majority of its employees here.

It plans to move its remaining operations to its 180 Marcus Blvd. location and construct a 15,000-square-foot addition. The project is estimated to cost $4 million.

Voxx's financial aid package includes a sales tax exemption of up to $241,500, mortgage recording tax savings of $36,750 and 15-year property tax abatements on its existing and new buildings.

The company plans to retain some 218 jobs on the Island, including administrative, IT and engineering positions with average salaries of more than $75,000.

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