Ace Natural Inc., a Queens-based organic food company, plans to relocate its distribution center to a vacant building in Mount Vernon. The new location offers more than double the square footage of its Queens home.
Ace had shopped around for a new site that would keep it close to its customer base, looking in the outer boroughs, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester. The company also was looking for a local government or IDA that would offer financial incentives.
The Mount Vernon IDA supported the deal at its March 14 meeting, granting preliminary approval for property and sales tax relief. Company officials told the Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency the move was necessary due to steadily increasing costs of operating in New York City.
The company distributes natural and organic foods, including frozen goods, snacks, gluten-free products, Asian foods and vegan and non-dairy products. Customers include restaurants, caterers and food retailers.
Ace plans to move from a 23,375-square-foot facility in Long Island City to a 56,678-square-foot office and warehouse at 249 E. Sandford Blvd., between a TD Bank and Staples store. It will lease the building from Exit 8 Hutch LLC, care of ABS Partners Real Estate in Manhattan and Harrison. It has an option to buy the property for $7.2 million.
The new site will have offices, a distribution center, and food processing, packing and cold storage facilities. Ace has budgeted $2.7 million for renovations and equipment.
Once an IDA deal is approved, the company says it can finish the work and relocate in four months.
Its 42 employees – 35 full-time and 7 part-time – will relocate to Mount Vernon. Ace has a $2.8 million payroll, with average salaries of $262,350 for executives, $75,775 for salaried workers and $30,334 for hourly workers. Ace expects to add five employees after two years in Mount Vernon.
The IDA gave preliminary approval for a sales tax exemption of $196,645 and property tax relief for 10 years. Current property taxes are $246,867.
The proposed payment in lieu of taxes agreement would begin at $104,854 and increase by 3 percent a year, to $136,811 in year 10. The value of the tax exemption is estimated at $1.6 million.
If Ace buys the property, it expects to take out a $6.5 million mortgage and ask for mortgage recording tax relief of $68,000.
Ace is a privately held corporation. The stockholders include Dawn E. Guarino, 35 percent; Donna C. Kryger, 35 percent; Tor Newman, 25 percent, and Diana Vierling, 5 percent.