The Babylon Town Industrial Development Agency is in the process of closing about a dozen real estate deals that would keep or bring businesses to the town.
The IDA has closed three deals so far this year and has commitments to close 11 others, said Robert Stricoff, IDA chief executive. Six of the businesses are from outside Babylon. The others are either buying property they had been leasing or expanding their businesses to another location within the town.
Stricoff credits the agency's aggressiveness and reputation with commercial brokers as key to landing the deals. That reputation can often come from simply answering the phone, he said. "If you can answer the phone and call people back, people in the real estate market are amazed," he said, and they know the town "is serious about economic development."
The town's property tax savings plan is also attractive, he said, beginning at a 50 percent reduction in the first year and declining by 5 percent each year after. The standard deal is for 12 years, he said, but can go as high as 15 years for a company that is retaining or creating 50 jobs or more.
The three companies that have closed deals are: E. Clips USA/Llc. of Brentwood, a school and stationary product wholesaler; electrical wire and cable distributor Gallant & Wein LI Corp./SHJ Realty Llc., of Plainview; and Rejuvenal Laboratories Inc., of Amityville, a manufacturer and distributor of salon items. The companies will bring or retain 39 employees to the town and promise 36 more within two years.
Stricoff said a quarter of the IDA's deals typically fall through, and that he expects to close on 10 or 11 of the 14 companies. If all 14 deals are completed, the town will bring in or retain more than 800 jobs.
Of the 14 companies, seven would move into buildings that were vacant, three would be purchases of or expansions within existing buildings and four would be for buildings where the current business is either downsizing or leaving the town.
Stricoff said it's "difficult to say" how many businesses have left the town recently. "I can't get to everyone and not everyone calls before they leave," he said. "When you're talking about the cost of doing business on Long Island versus even parts of New Jersey, it's much, much different. It's very difficult to keep people here."
Jonathan David, president of E. Clips, said his company had been leasing a building in Brentwood for 15 years and was looking to buy. Babylon's tax abatement program was a "major factor in my decision to go ahead with this property," he said. The location was also key, he said, as they were priced out of Nassau County but wanted to be as far west as they could.
"I think in the long run, this is going to be a very nice place for us to do business," he said.