Joe Campolo delivered these remarks at a press conference on September 18, 2020 announcing the creation of the Smithtown overlay district, which will allow for the development of apartments in a section of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge. This legislation is the culmination of years of work led by Campolo as HIA-LI Board Chairman. Other speakers included Terri Alessi-Miceli of HIA-LI, Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, Suffolk County Economic Development Commissioner Natalie Wright, Kelly Morris of Suffolk IDA, Mitch Pally of LIBI, and Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick.

Today’s announcement is a celebration of Long Island’s future. It also represents Long Island’s role as a nationwide leader, because we have created a blueprint for successful industrial parks across America. In today’s COVID-battered economy, this is no small feat – it’s something we should all be extremely proud of.

People snickered four years ago when I suggested that HIA-LI commission an Economic Impact Study to gather facts about the impact of the Park. They called it “a random collection of buildings.” They questioned why the Suffolk IDA and Regional Plan Association would fund an extensive Opportunity Analysis and bring in the renowned James Lima Planning + Development. They said these efforts would never amount to anything – this little tract of land was no Silicon Valley. Boy were they wrong.

The facts revealed unequivocally that the approximately 1,400 businesses in the Park are concentrated in tradable sectors – the industries bringing new dollars and economic growth to the region with high-paying jobs demanding a highly educated workforce. The Opportunity Analysis revealed that on Long Island as a whole, tradable industries are small, making up only 23 percent of Nassau and Suffolk’s economy (far short of the national average of 36 percent). But a staggering 58 percent of the jobs in the Park are in tradable industries – far outpacing the national average. With the largest concentration of tradable industry businesses on Long Island, and as the regional economic hub that fosters the greatest growth of competitive tradable industries, the Park is absolutely critical to economic growth and revitalization. This random collection of buildings has indeed earned its new name – the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.

But we didn’t stop there. We have worked with the Town of Smithtown to ensure Long Island’s economic viability for years to come. Mixed use, multi-family rental housing stock is critical to facilitate job creation and economic growth, expand the property tax base, satisfy the unmet housing needs of the region, and enrich the “live-work-play” concept so critical to attracting these educated young workers. Especially in the age of COVID, workers do not want to travel far, if at all, to get to work.

Without housing, new workers cannot come to the region for these high-paying jobs because there is no place for them to live – and 68 percent of the young people already here are considering leaving. This model is not sustainable. With the Smithtown overlay district, we now have a new model that will anchor not only Long Island’s economy, but that of the entire state.

The impact will be immediate and meaningful. The construction of rental housing is estimated to consist of 2,900 construction jobs, $180.7 million in construction earnings, and $472.6 million in construction spending.

Post-construction, over $25 million in annual spending within Suffolk County from new residents (within a 10-20 mile radius from the units) is expected. Nearly 350 new jobs would be created as a result of the new resident spending, with projected earnings of $15.6 million and spending of $45 million. For this, Supervisor Wehrheim and the Town of Smithtown Board should be extremely proud.

I would like to thank the members of the Innovation Park Task Force for their tireless efforts: Terri Alessi-Miceli of HIA-LI; Carol Allen of People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union; Anthony Manetta of HB Solutions; Rich Humann of H2M Architects + Engineers; Jim Coughlan of TRITEC; Bob Quarte of AVZ; Jack Kulka of the Kulka Group; and Kevin O’Connor of BNB Bank.

As my term as HIA-LI Board Chair winds down, I could not be more proud of the way HIA-LI has worked together with elected officials and stakeholders to ensure Long Island’s future. 2020 continues to test us, but together, we are Long Island Strong.