by David Winzelberg

Elected officials and business leaders are launching an economic study of the Hauppauge Industrial Park aimed at identifying opportunities for growth.

The study, which will be undertaken by the Regional Plan Association, will focus on ways to retain and attract employees, including redeveloping existing properties to add rental housing and creating a friendlier environment for millennials at the 11-square-mile park, which officials say is the second largest industrial park in the country.

The new effort, announced at a press conference in Commack Friday, comes on the heels of an economic impact study completed last month by Stony Brook University, which identified the park as a major economic engine for Long Island. Companies inside the Hauppauge Industrial Park employ about 55,000 workers and generate more than $870 million a year in revenue and property taxes, according to the report.

The Town of Smithtown recently created an overlay zoning district that allows building heights of up to 65 feet along Motor Parkway and up to 50 feet for other parts of the park, which is currently home to some 1,350 businesses. Officials say the zoning paves the way for redevelopment of existing buildings to add rental housing and other amenities that will help attract younger employees and allow for future business expansion.

“We want to keep our young people on Long Island and make it more affordable for them,” said attorney Joe Campolo, a partner of the Campolo Middleton & McCormick law firm and newly minted chairman of the Hauppauge Industrial Association’s Board of Directors.

State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick said the effort to remake the park will attract new investment and boost business.

“A strong business climate strengthens our tax base,” Fitzpatrick said. “We need more housing opportunities for millennials so companies can attract the employees they need.”

Newly elected Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, pledged to work with HIA-LI in the initiative. He called the park “the lifeblood” of the town.

“As goes the Hauppauge Industrial Park, so goes Smithtown,” Wehrheim said.

Mitchell Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute and an HIA-LI board member, said integrating the park with people living, working and recreating will be a key component for its future success.

“Rental housing can be an integral part of making the park better than it is today,” Pally said. “We’re not stuck with the current zoning. I don’t think anything is off the table.”

Terri Alessi-Miceli, HIA-LI president, said the RPA study would likely take a year to complete and that the association will hold public meetings along the way.

“We are primed for growth,” she said.

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