Home Economic Development Westchester IDA approves another $500,000 in sales tax relief for Atlas Air

Westchester IDA approves another $500,000 in sales tax relief for Atlas Air

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Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. has gone back to Westchester County for the second time for tax relief for expansion projects at two facilities.

Atlas airThe county’s Industrial Development Agency approved $500,000 in sales tax relief on Sept. 27.

“We have an issue that we’re delighted to have,” Scott Roper, Atlas’ vice president of taxation, told the IDA board. “That is, we’re growing so fast that we are bursting at the seams.”

He said space is so tight at corporate headquarters in Purchase that workers are squeezed into conference rooms.

The headquarters job count averages 527, out of 3,500 worldwide.

The IDA also extended the original 2012 sales tax agreement by another three years to Dec. 31, 2021.

Atlas Air Worldwide owns Atlas Air, Southern Air Holdings, Titan Aviation Holdings and 51 percent of Polar Air Cargo. It provides cargo and charter services, such as delivering packages for DHL and Amazon.

Last year, Atlas booked $223.4 million in net income on nearly $2.2 billion in revenue. It has a market capitalization of nearly $1.6 billion.

The original deal, in 2012, was for $600,000 in sales tax relief on $8.9 million in projects. Atlas pledged to retain 445 jobs and add 50 to its Westchester payroll.

In 2015, Atlas asked the IDA to amend the agreement to allow an estimated $1 million in sales tax relief on $21 million in projects, through the end of this year. That agreement expanded the project to include a data center in Hawthorne.

Atlas needed to improve its network capabilities, security and logistic operations, Roper said in a 2015 letter to the county. He noted that Atlas also had a data recovery site outside of New York State and that it was in the process of deciding whether to make the infrastructure improvements there or in Westchester.

Atlas said it would retain 502 employees in the county, according to minutes of the October 2015 IDA board meeting, and create an unspecified number of jobs in the IT department in Hawthorne.

The new IDA resolution cites a Sept. 6 letter from Atlas that notes that the company has facilities outside of Westchester, “where the cost of labor and materials for capital improvements is significantly lower than the costs in Westchester County.”

The tax exemption would mitigate that differential, the resolution said, and would encourage the company to invest in Westchester.

Atlas intends to spend $2 million on its facilities, according to the IDA resolution, and asked for the sales tax benefits to be increased by $500,000.

Roper said in a telephone interview that Atlas expects to spend $6 million on building out its space in Purchase, plus a significant amount on IT infrastructure for employees.

“It’s an old space,” he said. “We need to reconfigure it and make it more efficient, so we can put in more employees.”

The IDA resolution does not mention job retention or job-creation numbers. Roper said that at a minimum Atlas is committed to retaining the current level of jobs.

“We’re hiring new people now,” he said.

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