Featured Story

EPCAL drug research/treatment center seeks tax breaks

The developers of a proposed addiction research and treatment center at the Enterprise Park at Calverton are the latest group seeking tax incentives from the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency.

The center, known as Peconic Care, would occupy 40 acres on the southeastern portion of EPCAL. The land is owned by the Engel Burman Group, which purchased it from Riverhead Town in 2001. About 59 acres adjacent to the project will remain undeveloped.

The site is adjacent to the active eastern runway at EPCAL, which is used by Luminati Aerospace.

Officials from Peconic Care said they are seeking an abatement on sales tax on construction equipment used in the project and an exemption from county mortgage recording tax. They also seek a 20-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement.

While they didn’t specify how much of an abatement they sought on property tax through the PILOT, the IDA usually gives 10-year abatements that start at 100 percent of the value of the new construction in the first year and are reduced by 10 percent annually in subsequent years.

IDA property tax abatements apply only to town, county, school and fire district taxes, and only to the value of new construction.

Other payments due, such as water and sewer district taxes, are not affected by abatements or PILOTs.

“It will be the first of its kind to be created in United States,” Andrew Drazen, chief executive officer of applicant EBDK at Calverton LLC, said, describing the project at the IDA’s Sept. 11 meeting.

“Addiction is sweeping the United States and Long Island, and primarily Suffolk County,” he said. “There were 500 drug-related deaths last year on Long Island and 300 came from Suffolk County.”

Patients at the facility would check in voluntarily and would agree to participate in both the treatment and the addiction research portions of the program, Mr. Drazen said.

The project is being done in conjunction with Northwell Health, the parent company of Peconic Bay Medical Center.

Peconic Care was first proposed in Calverton six years ago and has yet to gain town approval.

The IDA recently approved tax incentives for Riverview Lofts, a proposed 116-unit apartment complex on East Main Street, and also heard informal presentations on Sept. 11 from PODS, which is moving its facility from EPCAL to Main Road in Calverton.

In January, some Riverhead Town Board members expressed concern about the proximity of Peconic Care to the active runway used by Luminati.

Peconic Care’s proposal includes a therapy and detox area, patient residence areas, a 10,654-square-foot fitness center and spa and a 200-seat auditorium that will be used by the community for education services and meetings about addiction.

Mr. Drazen said they are licensed by the state for up to 80 beds for patients.

“It’s way, way too long that we don’t treat this as the illness that it is, and not a moral failing,” Mr. Drazen said.

The center is expected to create 40 full-time jobs in its first year, 30 of which will carry salaries in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, Mr. Drazen said. The project will also create about 100 construction jobs.

The IDA must hold a public hearing on Peconic Care’s request for tax incentives before it can take any action. A specific date has not yet been set for that hearing because the IDA staff is moving to a new location in the East Lawn building on East Main Street, according to executive director Tracy Stark James.

“Sorry it took six years,” IDA member Bob Kern said to Mr. Drazen.

“We’ll go as fast as we can,” chairman Tom Cruso added.

[email protected]