Updated November 19, 2015 9:13 PM
By JAMES T. MADORE firstname.lastname@example.org
A retail chain that sells windows, doors and skylights was offered nearly $1 million in tax breaks by Suffolk County Thursday to keep its headquarters here instead of moving to New Jersey.
If WindowRama Enterprises Inc. decides to stay in Edgewood, the tax incentives would almost cover its $1.2 million bill for renovations to 71 Heartland Blvd.
The 130,000-square-foot building includes the corporate office and warehouse space.
A sales training center is to be incorporated into the facility if the company stays.
The tax breaks include a reduction of $930,045, or 28 percent, in property taxes over 12 years. That represents a restoration of now-expired incentives given by the Islip Town Industrial Development Agency when WindowRama moved from Deer Park to Edgewood in 2002, executives said.
“If we were starting today . . . we would probably locate the company in northern New Jersey,” chief financial officer Jeffrey J. Sands said Thursday, adding its customers are spread across the tri-state region and its biggest suppliers are in the Garden State.
“We would like to stay in Suffolk County, but the problem is we have customers in southern New Jersey, in Connecticut, in Westchester — and we cannot recover the transportation costs associated with serving them,” he told the Suffolk IDA. “We need your help to make it economically feasible to stay here.”
The IDA board voted unanimously to grant preliminary approval for the aid package.
WindowRama is also negotiating a rent reduction from its landlord, Heartland owner Gerald Wolkoff.
In return for Suffolk’s help, WindowRama would add six people by 2018 to its headquarters and warehouse staff, which totals 101. Records show they earn, on average, $50,851 per year, excluding benefits.
The company also has 30 employees at eight retail showrooms on Long Island; the total workforce is 180 across three states.
IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano said he hopes WindowRama remains in Suffolk, where it started in 1977 in the owner’s garage.
The WindowRama offer is likely to be the first of many by the IDA as large employers seek to reduce expenses when building leases are set to expire, according to IDA chairman Joanne Minieri.
“This company was born in Suffolk County, but they now have the opportunity to look elsewhere,” said Minieri, who is Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s top economic development adviser. “We want to keep them in the county . . . We will see a lot of these [tax breaks] as leases come due in order to retain larger companies.”