A report on the future of Hauppauge Industrial Park, scheduled to be released Wednesday, calls for the park to position itself as a regional economic hub, target tenants from key industries and create an environment that helps them attract and keep workers.
The report gives the first comprehensive picture of a quiet juggernaut whose 1,350 businesses and 55,000 jobs produce $13 billion in goods and services yearly, with $806 million in income taxes and landlords who pay tens of millions of dollars more in property taxes to local governments, advocates said. That data that can be used to lure government funding and tenants from other regions, they said.
“It's a real jewel,” said Terri Alessi-Miceli, CEO of HIA-LI, the association that represents businesses in the park and its supporters.
The 167-page report, written by Manhattan-based James Lima Planning + Development and the Regional Plan Association, was commissioned by the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency last year and shared with Newsday before its release Wednesday.
Changes will start Wednesday with a new name that the report's authors said would signal a break with the past: The Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge. It will be promoted with new signage at now unmarked park entrances.
Report recommendations include the creation of co-working spaces now more common in New York City or San Francisco and shared labs for prototyping and small-run manufacturing to join the conventional assembly line work, warehousing and distribution that are now park mainstays.
The report also proposes residential development along the park’s east side, a mixed-use corridor along Motor Parkway and greenways with bike and walking paths throughout the park. Eased zoning would permit retail, entertainment and denser, taller building in parts of the park.
An “essentially inward-looking era of industrial activities was less compatible with residential areas than the new cleaner and greener processes of the new economy,” according to the report.
Apartments and amenities will help park tenants struggling to hire and retain employees, said Kelly Morris, Suffolk IDA deputy executive director.
“We’re looking forward to long-term economic growth,” she said. “We’ve got to look at ways of changing how we do business out here.”
The 40-year-old, 1,650-acre park, roughly bounded by New Highway to the north, Motor Parkway to the south, Moreland Road to the west and Route 111 to the east, spans the towns of Smithtown and Islip.
Smithtown Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said park landlords pay about $19 million a year in property taxes to the town, a substantial portion of the total commercial tax receivables.
“It’s an economic driver,” he said. The town will support “a lot” of the proposals, but staff will closely evaluate the zoning proposals, particularly those that would affect building height on the north end of the park near residential neighborhoods, he said.
Smithtown officials should consider relaxing density, dimension and parking restrictions to permit bigger buildings that take up more lot space, according to the report. Floor-to-area ratio, now capped at 0.42, would be raised to 0.6 for some builders who commit to improvements like solar arrays or fitness areas.
A new local taxing or business improvement district could fund public investment, the report said, with Smithtown and Islip providing zoning changes to encourage private development, spurred by Suffolk County infrastructure improvements and tax incentives.
Those investments, along with partnerships with area research institutions, are aimed at attracting or keeping tenant companies from nine key industries. Some of those industries, such as aerospace and biopharma, already have a high profile on Long Island and in the park; others, like food processing, have a smaller presence but high growth potential.
Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, a real estate developer lobbying group, wrote in an email that the plan will “reinvent the industrial park by shifting towards a live-work-play environment that is vital in attracting a young and vibrant workforce," particularly millennials.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the report will “push our innovative economy to the next level."
"This comprehensive roadmap provides our region with the building blocks needed to strengthen, expand and attract key industry clusters," he said in a news release.