By Janine M. Mejeur-Haas
Mejeur-Haas Communications, Inc.
The gift of adversity visited the Hauppauge Industrial Park in the form of a three-day power outage in 1978. For Jack Kulka, it had become three days too many. Kulka assembled a group of civic-minded Long Island business leaders to take action and the HIA-LI was born. No one, not even Jack, could have predicted the profound impact this event would have on Long Island some 39 years later. Over his career he has built over 17 million square feet of industrial, commercial, rental, hotel and not-for-profit space and introduced Long Island to the concept of construction management.
On April 27th, HIA-LI president Terri Alessi-Miceli welcomed members, guests, and dignitaries to the annual Hauppauge Industrial Park Update event noting that, “While we are advocates for all of Long Island business, our heart remains in the park.” Alessi-Miceli announced that Joe Campolo, Managing Partner of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick and an HIA-LI board member, would discuss an astonishing preview of a near-completed economic impact study. “The vision for this study came from Joe in a true collaborative effort with Ann-Marie Scheidt, Director of Economic Development at Stony Brook University,” Alessi-Miceli said in introducing Campolo.
A Study on the Macro Level
“Ten years ago, I set out to start a law firm here in Suffolk County. As I searched for a way to develop business, a friend recommended the HIA-LI saying it’s a great marketing platform – lots of networking, introductions, and a lot of great companies,” Joe Campolo explained. After getting to know the individual companies, Campolo began to think of the region on a macro level. Enlisting six Stony Brook MBA students as investigators, he began to look at the region as a whole and “what we found was truly amazing.” In only eleven square miles, the 1350 businesses of the Hauppauge Industrial Park generate $13.4 billion in annual revenues, employ 55,000 people, and (according to estimates) account for one in every 20 jobs on Long Island. It’s the largest industrial park in the Northeast by number of companies and employees. The total combined payroll of the park is $2.9 billion, resulting in $806 million paid in income taxes. After taxes this payroll leaves $2.09 billion to spend locally combined with non-payroll business expenses totaling $4.4 billion. Additionally, the park generates $64.5 million in property taxes. “These are some serious numbers generated by this park and everyone should know about it,” said Kulka. “As members of the HIA-LI, know that your dollars are hard at work as we advocate for you, the business owners.” Kulka then introduced the other members of the panel.
Chris Hahn, Director of External Affairs for PSEG-Long Island, updated members on major changes to the power grid serving the park and precautionary measures underway post Hurricane Sandy. “We’re about to break ground on the new substation that will primarily service this park. Eight new banks giving you the ability to power your businesses reliably and affordably,” stated Hahn. After Sandy, Long Island received $1.5 billion in funds to rebuild, with about half going to rebuild the system, and $750 million toward strengthening the grid and making it more modern and resistant to damage. The new infrastructure will take into consideration coastal winds, hurricanes, and things which in the past might have resulted in a week-long restoration effort, but now might only be two or three days. Tree-trimming work is ongoing to reduce vulnerability. The new substation is constructed to post-Sandy specifications such that if the water were to rise to the level of Sandy, the substation would still function.
John Donovan with DPW gave the members an update on the current status of the park’s sewer expansion project. The sewer upgrade will connect all properties to a new 1.6 million-gallonper-day treatment plant which is already built and fully operational. The plant, built to handle industrial-grade waste, has the capacity to handle today’s demands and expected future demands. In addition, a small collection project is in progress in the northwest corner of the park; a pumping station is under construction east of Old Willets Path (scheduled for completion by the end of next year); and a second night crew is being added to expedite work along the major roadways. “The final phase will start in the spring or summer of 2018 for completion in summer of 2019.” Customers will be connected as the parts of the project come online.
The Overlay District
David Flynn, Town Planning Director for Smithtown, explained the overlay district which covers about two-thirds of the park. “Zoning was getting to the point where it was an impediment to growth rather than a stimulant, so in 2015 we worked out a draft amendment to the ordinance to facilitate growth,” Flynn remarked. The new overlay permitted higher building, parking garages as accessory to certain uses, and outdoor storage (with special permit). Flynn stated that they are now working on an amendment to allow mixed use in buildings to become “more competitive with Silicon Valley.” It is currently under environmental
review. In closing, Jack Kulka once again pointed out the urgency in all of these matters.