AURORA -- At its Feb. 13 meeting, City Council approved two tax abatements which could bring about 350 jobs in the next few years to the southern industrial zone.
Piping Rock Health Products LLC is planning an investment of $11.9 million at an existing building at 777 Lena Drive, which could result in 346 new jobs in the next five years, and Gatta Holdings LLC is planning an expansion worth about $1 million at its property at 435 Gentry Drive.
Piping Rock Health Products is headquartered in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. Founded in 1971, it markets vitamins, various oils, herbs, nuts and seeds, coffee, and pet, beauty and personal care products.
The firm hopes to acquire the 200,000-square-foot building on Lena Drive attached to PartsSource and make $5.4 million in improvements to allow manufacturing, packaging, warehousing and distribution of its products. The new jobs would result in a total payroll of about $12 million a year after five years.
Half of the building the firm plans to acquire had been leased by MTD Products -- which made outdoor power equipment -- but has been vacant for about three years, according to Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin. The other half is occupied by Wagner Distribution.
The company is hoping to begin its project this spring and complete it by March 2020. The 100 percent tax abatement would run over 15 years and result in a $3.17 million tax savings for Piping Rock.
The firm also is considering two alternative locations in North Carolina, and its officials say building occupancy, labor and other costs are "meaningful lower" there and significant economic incentives have been offered for those sites.
"The requested CRA [Community Reinvestment Area] exemption and job grant incentive will help to make the Aurora location cost competitive with the other locations," company officials claim.
Womer Benjamin explained that once the payroll at a CRA property surpasses $1 million, the Aurora schools become eligible for revenue sharing of about 32.5 percent of income taxes.
"The city has a 2 percent income tax rate, so in the year of a hypothetical $12 million payroll, the city would receive $240,000, but would remit about $78,000 to the schools, resulting in a net tax to the city of about $162,000," the mayor said.
"Piping Rock is a growing new company with an experienced leadership team that has been very successful in other endeavors," said Womer Benjamin.
"Its rapid success has compelled it to find new space, and we believe it would be a very promising addition to Aurora's industrial park.
"We are working with the Portage Development Board, Team NEO and the state to develop a winning package of incentives to bring this great opportunity to town."
Meanwhile, Gatta's abatement also is 100 percent over a 15-year period. Gatta is owned by Aurora resident Raymond P. Gatta. Plans are to increase the existing 28,000-square-foot facility by 10,000 square feet, and add two bridge cranes.
According to its website, Gatta has specialized in custom built assembly equipment since 1985, designing, building, testing and installing automated equipment for numerous applications and industries
The firm currently employs 30 people and plans to add five jobs each year over a three-year period -- 15 total -- which would increase payroll by about $250,000 a year.
Gatta hopes to begin the expansion this spring and complete it by this fall. The abatement would save the company about $268,000 over the 15-year period.