Rockland County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Executive Director Steven Porath gave a presentation at Wednesday’s Rockland County Legislature Economic Development Committee meeting recapping 2012 and looking ahead to 2013.
Porath was joined by Rockland County IDA Chairman Eric Dranoff and many other volunteer board members with the IDA. Porath went over a few of the biggest successes from 2012 in the county, kicking things off with the new Raymour & Flanigan distribution center that moved into a 893,000 square foot building in Montebello. The center is used as a distribution center for smaller distribution centers that belong to the chain.
“They’re sinking their roots in very deep into Rockland County,” Porath said. “That’s very significant.”
When talking about upcoming 2013 projects, Porath said the chain might even expand in the county this year as well.
Porath went into some details about the project, noting that it started with a $46 million investment and the promise of creating 200 jobs, which eventually turned into 300 jobs. From those jobs, the IDA’s analysis showed that the initial 200 jobs would bring in about $12.4 million in direct and indirect economic volume. Porath also said Raymour & Flanigan brought in $1.3 million in sales tax revenues, and the total projected local property taxes for the building are approximately $1.1 million annually.
Another big success for the IDA in 2012 Porath talked about was the Shops at Nanuet. He said the benefits to the county from the upcoming Shops at Nanuet include between 1,100-1,600 constructions jobs and more than 1,000 retail jobs. Those jobs could bring in about $145 million in direct and indirect economic volume, he added. Porath said comparable sized projects bring in upwards of $200 million annually, including about $16.5 annually in sales tax revenues.
As for upcoming projects in 2013 that are induced or in progress, Porath said there’s a $24 million investment for a boutique hotel in Nyack, a $22 million investment for a 98-unit housing facility in Haverstraw and a $13 million investment for a Holiday Inn Express in Nanuet/Spring Valley. He also said there’s a possibility for data centers in Orangeburg with an investment of more than $100 million. Porath talked about getting manufacturers to the county.
“I often hear that manufacturing is dead in Rockland County. It’s not dead in Rockland County,” he said. “We’re attracting manufacturers on a regular basis. We were successful when we had the Empire Zone and it’s been continuing, as far as that nice midsize manufacturer is a nice fit for us.”
Porath also talked about the IDA itself and what it does. He said contrary to what people think, it doesn’t give out money or anything like that.
“We’re not giving them anything,” he said. “There’s no checks being written.”
He said the IDA provides financial incentives for companies to come to Rockland, including state and local tax exemptions, mortgage recording tax exemptions, tax-exempt bond financing and tax-exempt financing for non-profits.
Porath said the IDA also works on PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) programs, which are payments made to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands. He added that many IDAs in the state can force PILOT programs, which often times lead to disputes. The Rockland IDA doesn’t have the ability to force the programs.
“We inherently bring the parties together — the applicant, the town, the county, the village, the school district — and work out, if there’s a deal to be worked out, work out PILOT arrangement, and everyone signs onto it,” he said. “It’s a mutual agreement, and the IDA, again, we are simply the legal vehicle to allow for this.”
Porath also talked about issues he hears people say hurt Rockland in terms of bringing in businesses. He said Rockland has some advantages, including location, since it’s part of the greater New York area. He also said that Rockland being on the smaller side helps since people in so many different organizations know each other.
“I, personally, am not seeing us losing businesses due to things as simple as workforce or cost. It’s expensive in this region, not just Rockland County,” he said. “Often times our challenge is, and I find, the initial issue is we don’t have a lot of buildings. We don’t have a lot of buildings that are available. Businesses looking to come to Rockland and are looking for a vacant manufacturing site of about 100,000 square feet, I can rattle off the top of my head. That’s how few we have.”