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May 13, 2009 4:55 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Business Park lease signed

May 13, 2009 4:55 PM

After nearly nine months of negotiations, a lease for the 55-acre Hampton Business and Technology Park at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton was granted by the Suffolk County Legislature Tuesday afternoon.

The 40-year lease with Rechler@Gabreski LLC, a smaller branch of Rechler Equity Partners of Melville, will generate about $38 million for Suffolk 
County, a positive turn of events considering that the airport has 
typically cost the county money since the 1970s.

Plans for the Hampton Business and Technology Park include a 485,000-square-foot industrial park featuring six buildings housing technology, film and homeland security businesses. There are also plans to build an additional 145-room hotel with conference capabilities on the site.

The park will cost Rechler about $90 million and the groundbreaking date for the park is set for sometime in spring 2010.

County Executive Steve Levy said Wednesday morning that the technology park will be an economic boon for the East End, as it is expected to create about 700 new jobs.

“We’re very happy that we’re moving forward with this economic development zone in the airport,” Mr. Levy said.

The park will line the county’s pockets, as well. Mr. Levy said the airport will generate about $650,000 for the county during the first year of the lease. That number escalates over the course of 40 years, up to more than $1 million per year.

The end date of the lease is subject to change depending on when Southampton Town grants approvals for the project, said Carolyn Fahey, the intergovernmental relations coordinator for the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Workforce Housing.

Mr. Levy noted that that at the end of the 40-year lease, Rechler will have the opportunity to extend the lease for an additional 40 years.

While Suffolk County has often had to subsidize the airport, by the end of 2009, Gabreski is expected to have a surplus of about $1.8 million due to a $1.2 million payment from the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing. Between 2003 and 2008, the county had to subsidize the airport with a total of about $6 million.

While the county owns the land that the technology park will be located on, Rechler@Gabreski will own the structures, Mr. Levy said. Mr. Levy said that Rechler@Gabreski will be investing about $90 million to build the park.

Mr. Levy said that the legislature’s approval of the lease allows Rechler@Gabreski to present its plans for the park to Southampton Town, which must approve them.

Mr. Levy noted that the Hampton Business and Technology Park has been worked on in cooperation with the East End community and Southampton Town. “We don’t expect any roadblocks,” he said about receiving the necessary approvals from town government.

Mr. Levy emphasized that the development at the Hampton Business and Technology Park is not going to increase flights in and out of Gabreski Airport—an important issue to its neighbors.

“This has nothing to do with flights. We’re not looking to increase flights at the airport,” Mr. Levy said.

One part of the contract approved by the legislature on Thursday mandates that Rechler@Gabreski solicit media outlets to create a film studio at the technology park once it is up and running, Mr. Levy said. If securing a media outlet in the park does not pan out, Rechler@Gabreski is free to find other high tech industries to fill the space, Mr. Levy said.

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The key here was Jim Morgo - he became a trusted link to the community and delivered transparancy. It is rare to find a public servant of his caliber.

By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on May 13, 09 3:40 PM
I welcome the site development on the technology side and tech jobs tend to pay well; I look with a little suspicion to the 145 room hotel, it seems to be a late add on to the plan. I'm not saying no - I'm just wary of it.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on May 13, 09 4:28 PM
Yeah.. Those Homeland Security, and Tech guys are really known to cause a ruckus... Especially while on an Air Force Base....
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on May 14, 09 9:41 AM