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SUNY Old Westbury gets approval as sixth Start-Up NY on LI

SUNY Old Westbury has won approval for a

SUNY Old Westbury has won approval for a Start-Up NY tax-free zone in Bethpage for technology companies, officials said. The 4,642-square-foot zone is on Grumman Road West, at a former Northrup Grumman Corp. building. Credit: Howard Schnapp

SUNY Old Westbury has won approval for a Start-Up NY tax-free zone in Bethpage for technology companies, becoming the sixth such zone on Long Island, officials said.

The 4,642-square-foot zone is 5 miles south of the campus, in a former Northrop Grumman Corp. building that is now home to the Morrelly Homeland Security Center.

Supporters hope the zone will eventually encompass 30,000 square feet.

Start-Up NY, which wraps up its second full year next week, was created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to attract businesses to the state and help new and expanding companies. Participating firms do not pay state and local taxes for up to 10 years. Their employees don’t pay state income taxes for as long as 10 years.

Calvin O. Butts III, president of Old Westbury, said the college hopes to recruit companies to its tax-free zone that boost the local economy and provide opportunities for young people.

“Whether we find a cutting-edge software developer, a brilliant biotechnology concern or an environmental remediation firm with innovative new ideas, our goals will include ensuring these companies are interested in not only their own success, but in creating successful solutions to challenges that face our . . . metropolitan New York community,” Butts said.

Old Westbury joins other Start-Up NY institutions in Nassau and Suffolk counties: Stony Brook University, Farmingdale State College, LIU Post, Suffolk County Community College and Republic Airport. Long Island is home to 22 Start-Up NY businesses, most at Stony Brook.

The state’s top Start-Up NY official, Leslie F. Whatley, has long championed the Bethpage building at 510 Grumman Rd. West as a tax-free zone because it’s equipped with nearly new workstations and furniture left by Grumman.

“One of the things that has slowed our expansion of Start-Up NY on Long Island is lack of space,” she said. “Old Westbury didn’t have space right on their campus. . . . Here you have a beautiful building that has a lot of empty space in it.”

Old Westbury is using the space under a long-term agreement with the building’s owner, Long Island Forum for Technology.

Whatley said she hopes another local university will establish a second Start-Up NY zone in the 90,000-square-foot building.

LIFT leaders said they hope the zone will improve the group’s finances by attracting paying tenants. LIFT, started in the 1970s, was forced to lay off half of its staff of eight recently.

“This fits with our mission of job creation and economic development,” said Barry Shorten, interim chairman of LIFT’s board of directors.

“We see opportunities for these businesses to collaborate with each other and the Morrelly center,” he said. “We also can provide business support to these startups.”

START-UP NY TAX-FREE ZONES ON LI

Stony Brook University; 19 companies

Farmingdale State College; 2 companies

LIU Post; 1 company

Suffolk County Community College (Brentwood, Selden and Wyandanch); accepting applications

SUNY Old Westbury (at Bethpage); approved this month

Republic Airport; seeking zone operator

Source: Empire State Development

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