Kremer’s Corner: Could L.I. be tech heaven?

Jerry Kremer

Many years ago when I was starting to practice law, I asked a more senior lawyer how do I get new business? His reply stayed with me for all of the past decades. He said ”your next business is already on your desk.”

What he meant was take a look around your office see what is readily available and go get it. That is the case of the many elected officials in our two suburban counties, all of whom are not aggressively seeking the opportunities that are there for the asking.

At this very moment, Amazon has purchased a number of properties to be used as part of the expansion of their business on Long Island. In March, the Nassau County Industrial Development Authority approved Amazon’s $72 million, 204,000 square foot warehouse and distribution facility in Syosset.

The project will deliver 125 union construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs. Foundations are being laid for a new 150,000 square-foot Amazon warehouse distribution facility in Holbrook.

Amazon has delivery centers in Shirley and Bethpage and is planning warehouses in Westhampton Beach and Carle Place. The growing presence of such a major company is an open invitation to go after executives of such companies as Facebook, Apple and Google and many others.

Google announced this past week the purchase of a downtown Manhattan building for $2.1 billion. They plan to hire 2,000 new employees. The big tech companies are currently employing 22,000 workers and planning to offer more jobs in the coming year.

How can Long Island get its share of the job pie? It is time for the various towns that have their own industrial development agencies to band together and start promoting their tax benefits and other advantages.

It sounds like heresy to suggest that competing jurisdictions should band together to get major companies to come to the island, but this is a now or never chance to tap into a growing opportunity.

It is almost a sure thing that many of the people being hired by the tech giants come from Long Island. How about our county officials getting the tech companies to hold job fairs so that there is a chance that our high school and college graduates find out first-hand what type of work is available?

Many of the younger generation have been leaving Long Island to live and work in the city, but the rental market is now hot and it is getting harder and harder to find an apartment. Thanks to the near completion of the interconnect between Penn Station and Grand Central Station, travel to the city will be much easier.

Most people do not realize that the combined population of Nassau and Suffolk counties is over three million people. This population mass makes this region larger than six other states. The two counties offer dozens of companies that are in the Fortune 100 to 500 class.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory is involved in research that will have world- wide implications. Maybe it is time for our many local elected officials to unite and begin selling Long Island and its many qualities, as opposed to focusing on just local business.

Back in the early 1970s at the request of the Long Island Association, as an Assemblymember, I sponsored a bill in Albany to create a Long Island Job Development Authority.

The Authority would have been able to promote the island as a whole and borrow for projects that benefit the entire island. The bill became law and stayed on the books until about ten years ago.

Neither county took advantage of its possibilities and the law quietly died. It could be time to recreate such an agency if there was any joint desire to use its promise.

There is so much more that can be done at a time when the big tech companies are expanding their presence in the downstate region.

The next Amazon, Facebook or Google headquarters could be in the bi-county area. It is an opportunity that is sitting on someone’s desk.

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