Suffolk County issues Gabreski Airport RFP

In a joint effort, Suffolk County and the Town of Southampton have asked for requests for proposals to develop 58 acres at county-owned Gabreski Airport.

The county hopes the private development of what has been dubbed the Hampton Business and Technology Park will provide jobs that could keep young people from leaving Long Island. The county and the town had battled in court over which would be the lead agency in developing Gabreski. In the compromise, the town earned zoning rights of the site, even though it is still county property.

The campus-like hub in the recently-approved Airport Planned Development District is on the westernmost portion of the airport and would create as many as 650 "career-type" jobs, according to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

Levy said the new industrial park would help to expand the economy of the area, which will help generate tax revenue. "In order for us to help our younger generation and attract businesses we have to control taxes," Levy said. "That's what economic growth is all about. "

The county is providing more than $2.5 million in infrastructure improvements and long-term leases as an incentive to businesses locating in the district. The county has also resolved long-standing stalemates over zoning, suitable uses and other development issues. Growth on the site, through work with the Gabreski Citizens Advisory Board, will be capped at 510,000 square feet.

Jim Morgo, Suffolk's commissioner of economic development and a member of the advisory board, said the significance of the project is its location. "This marks the first time there has been an industrial park this far east on Long Island," Morgo said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Patrick Heaney said the new industrial park would help the town flourish economically and he reiterated Levy's sentiment that the extra tax revenue would be a boon to the area.