By David Brand
A Long Island City printing plant formerly considered one of New York City’s business “success stories” by the Economic Development Corporation will close its doors and lay off at least half its staff in May.
The Prestone Press printing plant at 47-50 30th St. employs 75 workers and will close permanently in May, according to the state Department of Labor website. Staff will be laid off between May 10 and May 23.
Prestone President Robert Adler said he informed several staff members privately before announcing during the company’s 2018 Christmas party that the plant would close. Adler said about half of staff members will be transferred to other printing sites, though he did not provide details.
“The printing industry in NYC has been undergoing severe stress,” Adler told the Eagle in an email. “Our gross sales have reduced significantly over the last 4 years, our workforce reduced from 110 employees to 80.”
Adler said “increased national competition at lower rental and labor rates due to ease of procurement through the internet” led to reduced sales.
“We were no longer just competing with local printers but printers from all over the country,” he said.
On the “success stories” section of its website, NYCEDC hailed Prestone for growing its business while remaining in New York City.
“Prestone grew from a company with just three printing presses in Brooklyn to a full-service business that provides pre-press, press, dye-cutting, finishing, binding, and book binding services to its clients,” NYCEDC wrote. “The company was also able to expand its workforce. And to its credit, Prestone was featured as one of Crain’s New York Business's Best Places to Work. Congratulations, Prestone - well done.”
When Prestone moved from its Brooklyn site to LIC in 2006, the company received incentives through the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA), which encourages businesses to remain in New York City.
NYCIDA benefits include property tax abatement for up to 25 years, a mortgage recording tax reduction from 2.8 percent to 0.3 percent and a waiver of the city and state sales tax on equipment related to construction.
Adler said that NYCEDC said he would not have to repay those benefits.
“We have owned and occupied the building since 2005/2006 and we have been informed by NYCEDC that the requirement for repayment of benefits expires after 10 years of ownership,” Adler said.
According to NYCEDC officials, Prestone is not expected to repay the NYCIDA benefits they received because the recapture liability period ends after 10 years. Prestone Press passed its 10-year agreement but will not receive any remaining payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) benefits or property tax abatements on the facility, the officials said..