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Booted Maspeth biz says state incentives too small to stay

TimesLedger Newspapers

A manufacturing company employing 120 people will be forced out of Maspeth to make way for the new Kosciuszko Bridge, and the owner said the state is not doing enough to keep his business from leaving New York.

“We don’t feel, under the circumstances that New York City or the state has put their best foot forward,” said Adam Gold, who is the third generation owner of the steel access door manufacturer.

Karp Associates, which has existed in the Maspeth area for nearly 60 years, was seized by the state under the eminent domain law to make way for a footprint of the Kosciuszko Bridge, which is slated to begin construction in 2014.

Gold was offered an initial payment of more than $14 million to set up a duplicate business so the transition can be seamless, but talks are still ongoing for more compensation.

Gold understands the need to build a new bridge, but the city and state are not enticing him to keep his business in the state while other states like New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and even far-flung territories like Nebraska have offered attractive economic incentives to relocate.

For example New Jersey, a location Karp is strongly considering, offered an 80 percent refund on payroll taxes for five years. In total, he said the state’s offer is in the seven-figure range.

By comparison, New York has offered him about $500,000 — $100,000 in grant money and over $400,000 in tax credits — but it is money Gold does not think he is even eligible to receive..

The Empire state does offer competitive incentive, but they are designed to lure businesses from out of state.

Gold believes that his business should be considered an out-of-state business since he is being forced to move against his will.

“They don’t view our jobs as new jobs because they do exist in the state right now and I think that’s just wrong,” he said. “if I’m being forced to move, I think I should be treated as a foreign entity.”

But Austin Shafran, spokesman for the Empire State Development Corp., the state agency that doles out the incentives, Gold got the maximum amount allowed by state law.

“We will continue to work hard to keep jobs in New York and talks are ongoing,” he said. “But there cannot be an open faucet of taxpayer money.”

The ESD cannot consider the jobs as new jobs since they already exist in New York, according to Shafran, and the state has to invest its money where there will be a measurable positive outcome for New Yorkers in general.

And the ESD said that in addition to the roughly $14 million given to Karp, with negotiations ongoing, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency has also offered the manufacturer $7 million in incentives to move the business there.

Gold owns property there which could house his business, he said, but he might also choose to simply rent out the space.

Whether he does or not, there is a clear disadvantage to doing business in New York City.

Manufacturing space goes for about $10 a square foot in the five boroughs, he said, compared to about $2 per square foot in Newark or $2.25 in Long Island.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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