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New York offering new round of incentives for business development at East Farmingdale's Republic Airport

New York State is again dangling tax incentives for companies willing to develop land at Republic Airport, months after an effort to entice a private firm to manage and expand business at the East Farmingdale airfield fell flat.

The state's renewed attempt at boosting economic development at the historic airport, which serves small planes and corporate jets, was buried in a news release Monday outlining Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's planned $4 billion face-lift for LaGuardia Airport.

When previous proposals were floated with an eye on boosting the airport's commercial appeal, community members and those familiar with the inner workings at Republic reacted skeptically.

Fifty-four acres on seven parcels at state-owned Republic are available for development with lures of business-friendly tax breaks, according to a two-page request for information on Empire State Development's website.

The decades-old state agency is charged with promoting business development through loans, grants and financial aid.

Companies that agree to develop the Republic Airport land would be eligible for Start-Up NY tax incentives, shielding them from paying taxes for the first 10 years of a lease.

"Empire State Development has . . . a primary focus on enhancing the regional economic activity" at Republic, the release stated.

Manhattan-based real estate broker Newmark Knight Grubb Frank will work with the state "to guide development," state officials said.

Representatives from the broker were not available for comment Thursday.

Privatizing Republic and bringing in new management are not mentioned in the new proposal. Those ideas as well as tax incentives were in a December request for information and a March proposal request.

A source close to developers and the local aviation community expressed skepticism at the new proposal.

"There is not a single person involved in this on the development side who is not seriously perplexed by the state's process, and that is because no one ever responded to the first RFI," said the source, who did not want to be identified. "Now, suddenly we discover there's a second RFI, and the process is apparently as dysfunctional as the first one."

In January, Cuomo floated the idea of using Republic for commercial flights to relieve congestion going into Kennedy and LaGuardia.

Residents and the Republic Airport Commission, a local board that advises the state on the airport, were incensed by the possibility of commercial flights.

They said at the time they had not been included in the state's plan for the airport.

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