State seeks development plans for Republic

Empire State Development is seeking proposals to develop more than 40 acres of land at East Farmingdale’s Republic Airport.

Albany’s main economic-development engine has issued an RFP to revitalize 41.5 acres at the New York Department of Transportation-airport, spread across five parcels. Respondents to the request may submit proposals for all five parcels, which range in size from 5 to 18 acres, or for any combination of individual parcels, including single-parcel plans, according to ESD.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo – who has previously counted a Republic Airport renaissance among several Long Island components to his ambitious, statewide infrastructure-revitalization plan – said the airport is an economic opportunity waiting to happen, in terms of attracting new businesses and creating jobs.

“We are seeking to unlock its potential as a major economic engine for Long Island,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By fully developing this airport’s assets and resources, we will be creating opportunities for new development to make this region even more competitive in the global economy.”

Three of the parcels are connected to roads surrounding the 526-acre airport, and another could be connected to Farmingdale Road, according to an ESD press release announcing the RFP. To jumpstart interest in the sites, the state has already authorized tax-free development zones through ESD’s Start-Up NY program.

While aviation or aviation-related uses are preferred, prospective respondents “may propose alternative but compatible uses,” the release noted. Residential uses will not be considered, and all proposals are subject to Federal Aviation Administration review.

As a general aviation and reliever facility, Republic Airport already generates $214 million in economic impact to Nassau and Suffolk counties each year, according to the governor.

Revitalizing it “helps build upon the economic success of Republic Airport and the entire region,” noted New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll, while Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky said Republic “will have an even greater impact on the regional workforce and the Long Island economy” with the five parcels developed.

The RFP is not Albany’s first 2016 shout-out to Republic Airport. In his Jan. 13 State of the State and Budget Address, Cuomo said he would seek federal funds to bring “professional management” to the airport and referenced those tax-free zones as a means of luring transit-oriented development to the site, including a possible new Long Island Rail Road stop.

Projects selected through the RFP process will have to sign a long-term lease with the state, according to the ESD, and will be required to commit to a 30 percent Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises goal, including opportunities for MWBEs to serve as primary contractors and subcontractors on each project. Proposals are due by April 15.