2012 0720 all roads to riverhead

If you’ve got commercial or industrial property you’re interested in selling, the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency wants to talk.

“The IDA is desperately seeking sites,” executive director Tracy Stark-James said.

Stark-James said she’s successfully stoked the interest of numerous businesses in Riverhead, but currently lacks available properties for them to lease or buy.

She said the demand right now is more for existing vacant industrial buildings than for vacant land.

“I’m finding people are looking to renovate rather than build,” Stark-James said. She is looking for buildings ranging in size from 10,000 to 60,000 square feet.

Businesses interested in locating in Riverhead include a pharmaceutical company, a structural steel firm, two bread manufacturers, a couple of distilleries and a homeopathic medicine company.

Stark-James, who was appointed to the IDA post in February 2011, said she chases down all leads on prospective businesses and available properties.

“I entice them to come to Riverhead,” Stark-James said of businesses she’s been talking with. “Now I need to find them homes.”

The IDA uses assistance with financing and an assortment of tax breaks to attract businesses to the town. Property tax exemptions granted by the agency in the past have been criticized by school board members, who complain that the school district can’t afford to lose tax dollars to exemptions.

But Stark-James says the businesses that get the tax breaks would not be locating in Riverhead at all if it weren’t for the inducement of the exemptions.

“I cannot compete with the prices in New Hampshire and Atlanta,” Stark-James said. “With the inducements we can offer, businesses are willing to look at our area.”

The IDA looks to bring projects to town that will create jobs and bring new capital investment to the community, Stark-James said. Property tax exemptions phase out over time and the exemptions never reduce a property’s existing tax bill; instead they reduce the increase in taxes owed on new construction.

Suffolk County has its own IDA that can offer property tax exemptions and other inducements to businesses locating or expanding in Riverhead, Stark-James said. Riverhead is extremely lucky to have its own IDA, where residents can weigh in on proposals in a local setting.

“Right now, we’re trying to build up a database of properties on our website,” Stark-James said. “We work with brokers and property owners alike.” There’s no broker’s fee payable to the IDA, she said. The agency’s website is RiverheadIDA.com

Stark-James can be reached at 631-369-5129.

Image courtesy of Riverhead Industrial Development Agency

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