A watch manufacturing company that must vacate its Long Island City headquarters has secured $13 million in subsidies to remain in the city by relocating to the former Leviton site in Little Neck.
E. Gluck Corp. applied for benefits through the city Industrial Development Agency after learning it had to leave the space it leases from City University of New York, at 29-10 Thomson Ave., by May.
The company sought to sign a lease for 60-15 Little Neck Parkway, where Leviton Manufacturing Co. produced electrical wiring equipment for 35 years, but did not have the budget to finance the facility expansion and buy the new equipment it would require to function there.
The IDA, an agency that focuses on economic development and job retention, has since agreed to provide more than $13 million in property and sales tax abatement for 25 years to offset some of the $11.78 million the property owner, Steel Tribune LLC, plans to spend on construction.
Empire State Development has signed off on up to $2.5 million in job tax credits and a $500,000 grant, which E. Gluck will put toward financing $9.73 million of new equipment.
The IDA estimated the city would reap $63.4 million from E. Gluck over 25 years, receiving about $187,529 in tax revenue from each of the approximately 390 full-time employees expected to work at E. Gluck’s new location.
The watch company did not return several requests for comment.
Community Board 11 and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) indicated they thought E. Gluck would be a good fit for the neighborhood.
The company is not required to discuss its plans with the community board because it is not seeking zoning changes, but CB 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said E. Gluck had planned to come before the board but canceled.
She said Little Neck seemed eager to welcome the new neighbor.
“They — especially the community surrounding the area — had felt this was similar to what Leviton was,” Seinfeld said. “They expressed that this was a better fit than some other kinds of businesses that would bring in lots more people ... and be more disruptive.”
Braunstein said E. Gluck staff described a typical workday as a 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. operation that would not come with loud noise, pollution or truck traffic.
The company designs watches, manufacturers parts in Asia and then assembles them in New York. E. Gluck’s watches run from $19.99 to $800 a piece and are sold at several retailers, including Walmart, J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, according to its IDA application.
E. Gluck will be expanding Leviton’s 154,000-square-foot facility by about 81,000 square feet, adding a new heating and cooling system and rushing to build identical automated distribution and sorting equipment to ensure its production is not disrupted.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at strangle@c
©2013 Community News Group
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