Island International mulls moving part of business away from EPCAL

When Tim Stevens first bought land for his business, Island International, at the 2,900-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton around 1999, he assumed additional land would be available there in the future if he ever wanted to expand. The company currently employs about 300 people at its engineering and manufacturing facility in Calverton.

But that’s turned out to be not the case — and Mr. Stevens says he might eventually have to move some of his business out of state.

“What we need now is an additional 200,000 to 300,000 square feet of space,” Mr. Stevens said last week. “There’s property, but the town hasn’t made the property it owns at EPCAL available. They want to sell it all to Luminati or one of those guys.”

For nearly eight years, the Town of Riverhead had planned to create a 50-lot industrial subdivision at EPCAL, where prospective buyers could purchase smaller lots.

But in recent years, the emphasis has turned to selling almost all the property the town still owns there in one large block.

Riverhead is currently locked into a contract with Calverton Aviation & Technology — a joint venture between Luminati Aerospace and Triple Five Real Estate I, LLC — which seeks to buy about 1,600 acres of town land at EPCAL for $40 million.

Island International has other facilities in Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, and is looking for another manufacturing plant near York, Pa., Mr. Stevens said.

The company makes fabricated building exteriors and other structures that are often engineered and built in Calverton and then shipped to building sites, where they are assembled into an overall project.

Among the projects Island International has worked on are Tanger Outlets in Deer Park, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Stony Brook Center of Excellence.

As Island International looks for expansion opportunities, Mr. Stevens said, he has received offers from other areas and even other states attempting to lure the business away from EPCAL.

He said he’s been “going back and forth” with a couple of building owners in Brookhaven Town to possibly purchase more space there, and has also had offers from people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“New Jersey is probably the best deal going on,” he said, referring to tax incentives offered there.

The Riverhead Industrial Development Agency did discuss Island International briefly at its Jan. 8 meeting.

“We’ve been actively working with Island International,” IDA executive director Tracy Stark-James told the board. “That’s 300 jobs, 300 really good jobs. Engineering, manufacturing, skilled labor. It’s an incredible company and I’d like to keep them here.”

“I love this town; it’s great,” Mr. Stevens said of Riverhead. “But New York State is very difficult to do business in.”

Island International, which has about five buildings in EPCAL, did receive IDA tax incentives in 2006 for its main building at 4062 Grumman Blvd., but Mr. Stevens says those are about to expire. The company also received a 10-year tax incentive deal on its Island Green Steel building at 400 Burman Blvd. in 2013.

“We need incentives to function here because Long Island is just way too expensive, with the taxes and the insurance costs, which are just unheard of in New York State,” Mr. Stevens said.

Local businesses are also at a disadvantage against foreign competition, which often has lower operating costs, he added.

If he’s unable to find additional space at or near EPCAL, Mr. Stevens said, “we would probably maintain something here. We’d always keep our main engineering here at EPCAL, but we’d probably move manufacturing, at some point, to a different state.”

Photo caption: The outside of Island International in Calverton Wednesday morning. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

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