EPCAL employer seeks expansion, tax breaks

09/13/2018 6:03 AM |

Island International Exterior Fabricators will stay in Calverton after all.

Earlier this year, the company’s owner, Tim Stevens, said he was considering moving the business out of Enterprise Park at Calverton, where it’s been since 1999, because it needed additional space that wasn’t available. He had said he had gotten enticing offers from places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Since then, the company, which employs more than 250 people at EPCAL, has found additional space and is now looking to expand there, according to Mr. Stevens.

Island International makes pre-fabricated exteriors which are built on-site in Calverton and then shipped to a construction site to be installed.

By doing so, they’ve “taken the job out of a field or construction site and put it into a factory setting,” said Ed Harms, Island’s managing partner. “Between 80 and 85 percent of our works comes from our engineering office and factory in Calverton.”

Their hope is to add 80 to 100 new jobs at EPCAL.

Island International’s clients have included the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Sept. 11 Museum in Manhattan, Coney Island Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, among others.

But the company says it will still need help from the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency through tax incentives.

The IDA can offer partial property tax abatements, exemptions from sales tax on materials used in construction and county mortgage tax exemptions.

Island International has received IDA abatements on two other projects it’s done at EPCAL.

“These incentives aren’t something we just stack on top, we need them,” Mr. Stevens said at Monday’s IDA meeting. “We’ve invested in EPCAL since 1999 and we’re committed to stay here,” he said.

“We are at a competitive disadvantage in this market, which is very labor intensive,” said Jeff Robinson, the company’s chief financial officer.

Their main competition comes from less costly places like Mexico, Asia and Europe, they said.

Company officials, who made an informal presentation before the Riverhead IDA, said New York and Long Island still are not easy places to work.

“We’re lucky to have you guys here,” said IDA member Bob Kern, who is also the president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.

Since the beginning of the year, Mr. Stevens said, Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and IDA executive director Tracy Stark-James contacted Island International and offered to help them find space.

Among the new locations they found was the former PODS site in EPCAL, which Island International is now leasing. They also plan to expand two of the existing sites they occupy in EPCAL, Mr. Stevens said.

Mr. Harms said they envision doubling the size of their business at EPCAL within the next five years. They currently operate out of six buildings at EPCAL.

The company says its employees are all local and their manufacturing is all done in Calverton. Their business is centered around the New York City area, with Boston as a secondary market.

They have an engineering office in Boston, and plan to expand their market south into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Mr. Harms said.

The IDA is planning to schedule a public hearing on Island International’s request for assistance, although the date of that hearing has not been set.

The company also plans to ask the Town Board for some flexibility in zoning regarding outdoor storage, something Island International says is important for their business.

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