SUNY Old Westbury gets Start-Up NY site

Start-Up NY chief Leslie Whatley.

SUNY Old Westbury has been green-lighted for the Island’s sixth Start-Up NY incubator, to be built in LIFT’s Morrelly Center for Homeland Security in Bethpage.

The center will start out at about 4,000 feet but could grow to fill the top floor of the three-story, 90,000-square-foot building — space abandoned by Northrop Grumman in its local downsizing. Old Westbury’s program will be the first to operate off campus. The school, located about five miles away, did not have available space.

“We are excited to be part of this initiative and we look forward to attracting new business and industry to Long Island, creating new jobs and offering our students intimate opportunities to learn and grow,” said college President Calvin O. Butts III.

“Whether we find a cutting edge software developer, a brilliant biotechnology concern, or an environmental remediation firm with innovative new ideas, our goals will include ensuring these companies are interested in not only their own success, but in creating successful solutions to challenges that face our Long Island and metropolitan New York community,” Butts added.

The college expressed interest in a Start-Up NY site last summer, and had hoped to land Mitogenetics, a South Dakota-based biotech, as its first tenant. However, the startup has since moved into space at the bioscience park at Farmingdale State College.

Old Westbury joins Start-Up NY programs at Stony Brook University, Farmingdale State College, LIU Post and Suffolk County Community College, with a total of about two dozen companies in residence. Hofstra University is also being considered for inclusion in the program.

The Start-Up program could prove to be a financial benefit for LIFT, which has struggled to find tenants for the facility. The organization laid off half of its staff last week.