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Islip IDA had banner year in revenue

A $64 million assisted living facility in Sayville

A $64 million assisted living facility in Sayville received tax breaks from Islip IDA. Credit: Danielle Silverman

The Islip Town Industrial Development Agency took in its highest ever revenue last year after a flurry of multimillion-dollar economic development projects, officials said.

The town IDA, which offers tax incentives to expanding businesses in an effort to grow the economy, generated about $1.4 million in revenue in 2018, the largest in its 45-year existence, executive director William Mannix said.

Revenue nearly doubled from 2017 figures after the IDA closed on projects representing nearly $218 million in investment, according to data provided by the IDA. The agency offered at least $18 million in tax breaks in 2018, Mannix said. 

The investment brings “an injection of revenue to the entire location,” not just to the IDA, he said.

The record revenue and capital investment highlight how strong the economy is on Long Island, officials said. Businesses are looking to expand and invest in large projects while seeking tax help to make ventures economically feasible. 

It was also a good 2018 for Suffolk, Brookhaven, Babylon and Nassau IDAs, officials said. 

“Probably most of us are having a record year because the economy is booming and there’s a lot of construction going on,” said Lisa Mulligan, CEO of the Brookhaven IDA. “Ride around and you’ll be shocked by all the construction you’ll see.”

That wasn’t the case in Glen Cove, which had half as much revenue as in 2017, and Hempstead, which had a “tepid year," officials said. 

Hempstead IDA CEO Fred Parola attributed low revenue to a lack of space for development and the loss of "prestige" in its reputation over controversial tax breaks given to the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream in 2016. 

“So they’re the ones that took all our business,” Parola said of Islip.

Islip's record year comes as lawmakers are expected to consider changing how tax breaks and inducements are awarded over concerns about rising property tax bills and an abandoned deal to bring Amazon to Queens. 

In Islip, Long Island MacArthur Airport may have attracted some businesses while the IDA boosted marketing efforts and worked on more housing projects, Mannix said.

The Islip IDA closed on 18 projects in 2018, down from 29 projects in 2017, when revenue was $847,000, according to data and officials. But 2018 had bigger projects financially.

“The larger the project, the more revenue” the agency collects because the IDA charges fees based on a project’s total capital investment, Mannix said.

The 2018 projects are expected to create 426 jobs and retain 1,348, the data show. The biggest projects include a $64 million senior living facility in Sayville and a $52 million apartment development in Central Islip. 

The IDA helped the largest project "overcome the twin obstacles" of high property taxes on Long Island and rising construction costs, said Maria Miller, vice president of development at Brightview Senior Living. The 154-unit Sayville facility is expected to open in 2020. 

IDA revenue will be used to cover agency costs and could fund future infrastructure projects, including a $1 million contribution for a proposed sewer expansion in Central Islip, Mannix said.

The Islip IDA, by the numbers, in 2018, according to Mannix:

  • $1.4 million in annual revenue
  • At least $18 million in tax breaks
  • 18 project deals closed
  • $218 million in expected capital investment in town
  • 426 jobs created 
  • 1,348 jobs retained
  • $125,000 spent on marketing
  • 416 housing units planned

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