IDA grants tax breaks to Riverhead Building Supply, Skydive L.I.

COURTESY PHOTO | People skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel. Skydive Long Island is looking to build a new indoor skydiving facility in Calverton.
Skydive Long Island is looking to build a new indoor skydiving facility in Calverton. (Credit: Courtesy)

The Riverhead Industrial Development Agency has approved partial property tax abatements for two new projects planned for the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

On Monday, the IDA granted tax breaks to Riverhead Building Supply’s proposal for a new 123,946-square-foot building; and to Skydive Long Island’s proposed indoor wind tunnel facility.

Both applications passed 3-0 in two separate votes, with two members absent from the meeting.

The Skydive proposal had been the subject of a public hearing earlier this year and calls for the construction of a 44,000-square-foot indoor skydiving instruction and training facility on one acre of Skydive’s 16.34-acre property at EPCAL. The new facility would be located adjacent to the company’s existing airplane hangar, officials said.

Skydive Long Island has been running its skydiving business at EPCAL since 2000. The new proposal is for a wind tunnel where people can skydive indoors, Skydive owner Ray Maynard has said.

“You feel what a free fall feels like without having to worry if your parachute is going to open up,” is how Mr. Maynard explained it at a prior meeting. He has said he’s hopeful the new facility will draw between 50,000 and 100,000 people per year.

The IDA approved exemptions on sales tax for building materials associated with the project. It also approved partial property tax exemptions that start at 100 percent of the value of the improvements to the property for each of the first five years. The exemption then decreases to a 50 percent abatement in the sixth year, 40 percent in the seventh year, 30 percent in the eighth year, 20 percent in the ninth year, 10 percent in the tenth year. After that, Skydive is expected to pay full taxes.

The partial tax abatements applies to town, county, school and fire district taxes. It doesn’t apply to the existing land value, officials said.

Mr. Maynard said he hopes to break ground on the new facility by September and anticipates it will take between nine months and a year to build.

As for Riverhead Building Supply, the IDA had also granted the company partial tax abatements in 2007 when it built a 110,000-square-foot millwork building on 32-acres at EPCAL.  

Earlier this year, the company proposed building a new 123,946-square-foot facility on the same property.

In 2007, Riverhead Building Supply received partial property tax abatements that started at 100 percent of the value of the improvements and decreased by 10 percent each year over a 10-year period.

The company is now in year seven and pays 70 percent of the property tax amount, officials said.

However, the proposed new building is being treated as a separate IDA application, and its approval includes the same 10-year abatement, starting at 100 percent and decreasing by 10-percent each year.

That’s the IDA’s uniform property tax abatement for manufacturing jobs, IDA attorney Richard Ehlers said.

The uniform property tax abatement for commercial projects starts at 50 percent and decreases by five percent each year over 10 years, officials said.

The construction supply company was also granted a sales tax exemption on the value of building materials purchased for the construction job.

Riverhead Building Supply vice president Kevin Goodale said the new EPCAL building will be a pre-engineered metal building and will replace the company’s Mill Road facility.

“We should be able to finish the construction in 2014, weather permitting,” Mr. Goodale told the IDA.

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