Flagler County vs. New York State: Comparing Two Different Economic Development Opportunities

Salamander’s proposal will bring $72 million to Flagler County. Compare that to the success of “START-UP-NY”, the Empire State’s heavily advertised business recruiting campaign.

Palm Coast, FL – February 1, 2015 – The Flagler Board of County Commissioners will have an opportunity Monday evening to follow county staff's recommendation to allow Salamander Hospitality and Lubert-Adler to make a $72 million capital investment to improve the existing Hammock Beach Club facility. The most significant investment is the proposed replacement of the deteriorating beachfront Lodge with 20 guest rooms by a 5-star 198-room Lodge/Hotel.

Salamander’s proposal has drawn heavy fire from a well financed and well organized minority, hiding behind spurious land use, environmental and preservation claims. Seldom have I seen so many emotionally-charged words conflated into so few facts.While larger, the new structure will introduce no new uses to the building. It will be two feet shorter and 15 feet further from the dune line than the existing structure.

What the BOCC decides to do will shape Flagler County's future for many years to come.

New Hammock Beach Club Lodge from towerTim and Sara Hale, Hammock residents and Flagler entrepreunures, distil the issue well in their Palm Coast Observer “View,” New lodge proposal is good for Hammock, good for Flagler. If Salamander's proposed project does not represent responsible development, I don't know what does. This is not an environmental or land use issue. It is an economic development issue.

What New York is doing:

The most recent effort to attract new or expanding businesses to New York State is far reaching and expensive. “START-UP NY” has been heavily advertised in national TV commercials. I’m sure many of you have seen them.

"The new New York is open. Open to innovation. Open to ambition. Open to bold ideas. That's why New York has a new plan. Dozens of tax-free zones all across the state. Move here, expand here or start a new business here, and pay no taxes for 10 years. We're New York. If there's something that creates more jobs and grows more businesses, we're open to it."

Under the program, businesses have the opportunity to operate completely tax-free for 10 years on eligible campuses and spaces. Businesses will partner with the higher education institutions in the SUNY system as well as other universities and be able to access industry experts and advanced research laboratories.

START-UP NY has been in operation for more than 15 months. A January 28, 2015 press release from N.Y. Governor Mario Cuomo’s office touts its success. The latest group of businesses participating in START-UP NY bring the total commitment for investment by all participating companies throughout the state to more than $104 million. Wow!! That's a whole $32 million more than Salamander will be spending in Flagler County. The cost to N.Y. is in the millions; for tax incentives and promotional costs.

A Stark Comparison


  • START-UP NY:  $104 million in new investment across the entire state
  • Salamander Hammock Beach Club improvements:  $72 million in new investment in Flagler County


  • New York State:  19.7 million residents
  • Flagler County:  100,000 residents

Annual Budget

  • New York State:  $142,600,000,000 of which $1.2 billion is for Economic Development
  • Flagler County:  $146,398,847 of which $1.3 million is for Economic Opportunity


  • START-UP NY costs (advertising and tax exemptions):  in the $ millions.
  • Flagler County cost for Hammock Beach Club improvements:  $0. No tax incentives, no marketing budget.

Environmental benefits

  • START-UP NY:  none claimed.
  • Salamander:  pledges approximately $100,000 annually for Hammock Conservation funding.

I ask the Board of County Commissioners to consider this question:

I you don't vote YES for Salamander’s proposed project which would bring $72 million in capital investment to Flagler County, what will you all be saying during next year’s Economic Development Budget discussion?

What does ED stand for in Flagler County? Economic Development or Electile Dysfunction? I am confident that the BOCC will do the right thing.

4 replies
  1. David Alfin
    David Alfin says:

    Hat Trick plus 2

    A simple majority vote of 3/2 in favor of the Salamander proposal is not enough. Flagler County needs to promote economic development ‘loud & proud’ with a unanimous vote by the BOCC of 5/0. Let the world take notice that Flagler’s BOCC’s are ‘all in’ for the economic development and future Flager’s prosperity!

  2. Ken Jagodzinski
    Ken Jagodzinski says:

    An Upstate, NY perspective

    Tell an Upstate New Yorker that you want to invest $72 million to maintain/upgrade an existing project to bring economic stability, create jobs and attract even more revenue and they will hold a parade and give you the keys to the City!

    Having recently moved here from Upstate, NY we are baffled at the resistance to this project. We love this area and the quality of life. Having spent considerable time researching the proposal, talking to locals and asking lots of questions, we believe this to be a no-brainier for approval.

    It is our hope that Elected Officials have the courage to make a decision based on the merits of the proposal WITHOUT emotion. We have far greater concern of the long term effects of a NO vote than approving this project.

  3. Frank Zedar
    Frank Zedar says:

    Is Flagler County “Open For Business”… or Not?

    The status quo = stagnation. This proposal will bring healthy growth and economic vitality to Flagler County. I am a Director on the Flagler County Association of Realtors Board of Directors… and a member of the Flagler County Economic Opportunity Advisory Council… and I am in favor of the Salamander project moving forward!!! A “No” vote would be akin to a billboard on I-95, loudly announcing, “Flagler County is No Longer Open for Business.”

  4. Manuel Amaral
    Manuel Amaral says:

    Property Owner


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