January 3, 2006, NassauCounty’s New York State Senate Delegation secured an Empire Zone designation for certain areas within NassauCounty. While Air Stream Corporation is not physically within the Zone, a state law written by Senator Dean Skelos enables businesses located outside of an Empire Zone to receive these benefits if they are deemed “regionally significant projects.” This law affords government leaders the flexibility needed to keep businesses from leaving the state and also facilitates commercial growth.
“To build a strong regional economy, we must start by keeping quality jobs here,” said Senator Skelos. “Securing an Empire Zone was a big win for NassauCounty and I’m extremely pleased that Supervisor Murray and the Town are using the state law that I drafted to provide the assistance needed to ensure that Air Stream has the ability to grow in Oceanside.”
“Creating jobs in our region, stimulating the economy as well as retaining and expanding local businesses are critical to ensuring that industry remains vital in NassauCounty,” said Murray. “By qualifying businesses like Air Stream Corporation for Empire Zone benefits, we’re investing in the economic well-being of our area.”
Specifically, the Hempstead Town Board will consider a measure at its January 9th meeting supporting Air Stream’s application to the New York State Department of Economic Development to be designated a “regionally significant project” under the state’s Empire Development Program. This step is a critical and required step for businesses that are outside of the boundaries of an officially designated Empire Zone if they are to be eligible for the financial benefits of Empire Zone status.
Air Stream Corporation manufactures and produces food items for hospitals, hotels, the airline industry and a variety of institutions. In addition, the company, comprised of 120 employees, engages in the wholesale distribution of its products.
“Air Stream’s employees constitute a genuine family and we’ve made our home here in HempsteadTown,” said Robert Fitzsimmons, president of Air Stream Corporation. “Growing our family business in our Oceanside home is important to us and a benefit to the regional economy. We’re excited that Supervisor Murray and Councilman Santino are supporting our bid for Empire Zone benefits.”
In its application for designation as a “regionally significant project,” Air Stream has proposed to expand its Oceanside facility from 10,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet at an estimated cost of over $3 million. The company further plans to create 65 permanent manufacturing jobs. The growth plan and associated new positions are anticipated to be phased in over a five-year period, reaching completion by the end of 2011.
Among the benefits that qualifying Empire Zone businesses may be eligible for include sales tax exemptions, real property and business tax credits. The Empire Zone program does not adversely impact local property tax revenues, as the state compensates for the local taxes lost through the reimbursement of local jurisdictions.
Businesses seeking an application for Empire Zone benefits should call the Town of Hempstead Department of Planning and Economic Development at 516-538-1700.