The Largest Industrial Park in the Northeast Has a New Name – and a Strategy for Long-Term Growth

HIP press conference 4 24 2019 group shot
From left: Jack Kulka, Lifetime Board Member, HIA-LI; Joe Campolo, Board Chair, HIA-LI; Hon. Ed Wehrheim, Smithtown Supervisor; Hon. Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive; Hon. Angie Carpenter, Islip Town Supervisor; Terri Alessi-Miceli, President & CEO, HIA-LI; Kelly Morris, Deputy Executive Director, Suffolk IDA; and, James Lima, President, James Lima Planning + Development.

It’s hard enough figuring out how to grow our businesses and organizations over the next, say, six months . . . or year . . . or even two years.

So, how do we chart a course for growth over the next decade? Or two decades?

Well, we now have clear and specific answers.

First, based on feedback from park occupants, our government partners and our future workforce, we are changing the name of the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

Its new name is the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge with the tagline: “Where Business Meets Innovation.”

As the largest business park in the Northeast, we’re already the unrivaled cornerstone of the Suffolk County economy. This Park is home to 55,000 employees – and our $13 billion of annual output accounts for eight percent of Long Island’s Gross Domestic Product.

Our proven capacity for innovation will be the key to decades of new growth, so innovation is now our middle name.

And what is our blueprint for decades of expansion?

Last year, we assembled the talents of Stony Brook University, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, and the Regional Plan Association to compile a comprehensive inventory of the park’s assets.

The Suffolk IDA then brought in James Lima Planning + Development to match up our assets against the anticipated demands of tomorrow’s regional and national economy.

The result: a 167-page report that Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone called a “comprehensive roadmap” that spells out “the building blocks needed to strengthen, expand and attract key industry clusters that will push our innovative economy to the next level.”

The analysis found that we held a big advantage over the rest of Long Island through our powerful contingent of “tradeable” business. “Tradeable” commerce involves goods and services exportable to other locations — and not consumed solely by local markets.

This is a hard-core metric of regional economic development value because it measures an asset’s capacity to serve, in essence, as a “dollar magnet” – and to attract outside wealth into the area.

The Island-wide ratio of “tradeable” business runs only 23 percent, contrasted with a national rate of 36 percent.

But the figure for Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge stands at an impressive 58 percent, over 20 percent higher than the national average.

That’s a platform worth building upon, and one that is destined to elevate the Park’s status as a regional business driver.

The report pinpointed five essential, high-level economic development strategies for the Park to grow and influence the entire Long Island economy:

First, facilitate business growth. Second, strengthen training and workforce development. Third, attract and retain knowledge workers. Fourth, promote innovation and technology transfer. And fifth, fortify connections among business, government and institutions.

“This reimagining of the Park,” says Suffolk IDA chair Theresa Ward, “gets everyone involved in economic development in this region excited because the potential is so real and obtainable.”

With this insightful, five-part game plan in hand, Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge is today equipped to fulfill a growth scenario that will redouble its contributions to our regional economy.

Ambitious? Yes.

And do we have the assets – and the will – to pull it off?

Absolutely!

Partnership Between HIA-LI and Town of Smithtown Delivers Long-Term Benefits to the Hauppauge Industrial Park

20190312_102207 (1)
HIA-LI President & CEO Terri Alessi-Miceli is interviewed with Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim for an upcoming episode of Smithtown Spotlight.

Especially at the local level, you can’t underestimate the importance of the relationship between business and government.

We see it all the time at HIA-LI, where our ability to meet the day-to-day needs of our members – and to achieve our long-term goals – depends upon the quality of our interactions with local municipalities.

The large majority of the Hauppauge Industrial Park (HIP) is situated within the Town of Smithtown, with the balance in the Town of Islip. Happily, we enjoy vigorous support from the elected leaders of both towns.

They are Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim and Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. Both deserve great credit for their support for the Park.

I recently was privileged to join one of these two officials, Supervisor Wehrheim, as a guest on Smithtown Spotlight, on Channel 18 in Smithtown, which is scheduled to air in April 2019.

During the interview, he repeatedly underscored the value of the Town of Smithtown’s partnership relationship with the HIA-LI and the Park.

“From ‘day one,’ we realized how important the Hauppauge Industrial Park is to the sustainability of Smithtown itself,” the Supervisor – elected in November 2017 – said. “There’s a great opportunity for us to partner, and we went full steam ahead to make sure that this happened in this administration.”

Living up to his commitment, for example, Supervisor Wehrheim has been a regular presence at HIP Task Force meetings and activities, where we are devising ways to maximize growth and competitiveness. Institutional participants include Stony Brook University, the Suffolk County IDA, and the Regional Plan Association.

In the past, the Town had done much road reconstruction work associated with the County’s sewer expansion in the Park. I was very pleased to learn that the Supervisor budgeted for several much-needed infrastructure projects including widening Adams Avenue, improving New Highway, upgrading traffic signals, adding new sidewalks, and removing outdated-looking wooden poles. And going forward, future capital improvements, he said, would be budgeted in on an annual basis.

“Even though it is infrastructure work,” he said, “these are all things that will aesthetically make the park very pleasing to business people when they come in to look at it.”

In 2018, Smithtown gave the green light to 740,000 square feet of commercial development in the Park.

Zoning changes have boosted building height limits from 35 feet to 62 feet high along Motor Parkway, with the future prospect of higher structures more deeply into the park.

“New height requirements are going to bring more high-tech businesses to the Park,” he said.

The Supervisor and I also discussed our HIP re-branding initiative which includes a possible name change for Park.  We also talked about potential zoning changes to allow residential development within the HIP.

Supervisor Wehrheim offered some concrete evidence of the Park’s fiscal value for the Town:

“We just received a Triple-A bond rating from Moody’s, the highest level that can be attained,” he said.

Moody’s cited HIP’s value in evaluating the Town’s creditworthiness, as well as Smithtown’s “partner” relationship with the Park.

With some 55,000 employees, HIP represents some $19.6 million in total tax assessed value and generates about $14 billion in annual sales.

“I see great, great things happening in the future, for the Park and for Smithtown as a whole,” said Supervisor Wehrheim. “And working with Terri has been a pleasure. It’s a great relationship to specifically accomplish great things.

“As a partnership, we’ve really stirred up some real interest and I think it’s going to continue,” he said. “At least I’m going to put all my efforts into making that happen.”

With Confidence Levels at a Record High, Let’s Boost Long Island’s National Profile

52461580_2224689924446454_1887845771080892416_o
Bob Quarte, partner with AVZ & Co. and HIA-LI Board Member and former Chair, moderates the February 13 HIA-LI Economic Summit.

Long Island’s business community is facing the future with confidence at record levels.

We know that the significant work HIA-LI is doing with the Economic Impact Study and Opportunity Analysis will spur growth and development. Because of this, HIA-LI’s Long Island Economic Confidence rating is also high.

Now we need to project this confidence outward to other markets. Our advantages should be positioning Long Island as an economic development magnet.

That was the big takeaway from HIA-LI’s 25th Annual Long Island Economic Summit held February 13 at the Windwatch in Hauppauge. Panelists included six top-tier representatives of Long Island’s business community.

As always, the annual conclave’s centerpiece was the release of the AVZ Economic Survey and Opinion Poll. Results were presented by a HIA-LI Board Member and a former Chair, Bob Quarte, a partner with AVZ & Co.

Bob said confidence in the national economy had hit a record high of 7.5, while Long Island’s economic confidence rating had attained a 7.2 level.

“This 7.2 rating is the highest we’ve ever seen,” Bob reported, on the occasion of the AVZ survey’s silver anniversary. “It matches our 1999 and 2000 levels.”

Some 77 percent of respondents had increased company revenues in 2018. Ninety-five percent had increased prices for products or services, and 43 percent had expanded their staffing.

Chris Valsamos, President and CEO of Castella Imports, urged Long Island to promote itself more forcefully:

“Long Island must advertise itself as family-friendly,” he said. “We have excellent schools, recreation, and employment opportunities.”

“Our region should stop playing defense and start playing offense,” said Kevin O’Connor, BNB Bank’s President and CEO, striking similar chords. “We offer so many pluses, including our institutions of higher learning and proximity to New York City.”

“Locally, confidence is high,” said Michael Fener, executive director of Northwell Health. Echoing Kevin O’Connor, Michael highlighted our nearness to The Big Apple as “a benefit for Long Island.”

“This region has world-class institutions,” said Rich Humann, President + CEO of H2M architects + engineers. But, he added that there is a serious “talent gap in the engineering industry.” Rich urged the expansion of STEM education.

“Stony Brook graduates are getting jobs,” Dr. Anne-Marie Scheidt, Economic Development Director at Stony Brook University, told attendees. “Many get multiple offers before graduation, especially in STEM fields.”

Sometimes I think we’re so close to Long Island that we forget what a great place it is to do business. So let’s take our panelists’ advice — and tell the world!

Click here for a copy of the 2019 AVZ Economic Survey and Opinion Poll.