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  • Business Expansions and Contractions - Long Island Region

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    The former Tower Diner, located across from the entrance to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Bohemia (Suffolk), has sold for $2.27 million.  (LI Business News - December 26, 2012)

    Retailer Macy's has dubbed the period from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 its "Week of Wonderful," with plans for special promotions and deliveries of new merchandise.  (Crain's NY - December 26, 2012)

    Medford (Suffolk)-based Chembio Diagnostics has obtained U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market a rapid HIV test based on oral fluids to laboratories.  (LI Business News - December 21, 2012)

    This list of patents granted the week of Dec. 4 by the U.S. Patent Office to Long Island-area inventors and companies.  (LI Business News - December 21, 2012)

    Watt Fuel Cell Corp. of Port Washington (Nassau), a developer of solid oxide fuel cell systems, has received a six-month $100,000 state grant for further research on the manufacturing of fuel cells to generate electricity for civilian and military uses.  (Newsday - December 20, 2012)

    Select Products Holdings Llc wants to open a $5-million tissue factory next year in Huntington (Suffolk)  The owners promise to employ 106 workers by 2018.  The company will turn out toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue, wipes and napkins.  Production will begin next spring or summer, officials said.  (Newsday - December 20, 2012)

    The Empire State Development Corp. on December 20 approved up to $1.2 million in grants and tax credits for Woodbury (Nassau)-based Clever Devices Inc., a maker of electronic systems used in public buses in Nassau County and elsewhere.  The money will reimburse the company for some expenses associated with its recent move from Plainview (Nassau) and the hiring of more workers.  (Newsday - December 20, 2012)

    The Long Island Power Authority on December 17 released its 2013 operating and 2013-2014 capital budgets with no rate increase and without including costs related to Sandy.  (LI Business News - December 18, 2012)

    Homeowners who were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy are receiving an unusually generous array of federal financial assistance.  (Crain's NY - December 18, 2012)

    Consumer confidence in the metropolitan region rose last month despite the devastation wrought by superstorm Sandy.  (Newsday - December 7, 2012)

    Nassau County has awarded $500,000 in sales tax breaks to 25 businesses damaged by superstorm Sandy, officials said.  (Newsday - December 5, 2012)

    Big money is betting on single-family homes, and the gamble will help to steady the local real estate market.  At least a dozen hedge fund and investment firms plan to spend about $8 billion to scoop up thousands of distressed single-family homes across the country - including some on Long Island - as part of a buy, hold, sell strategy.  The investment in housing from major private equity firms, such as the Blackstone Group, Colony Group, Carrington Capital Management and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, will act to stabilize the housing market here, brokers say. By removing many of the bank-owned and about-to-be foreclosed properties that have lingered in a swollen inventory, supply is kept in check and there's less downward pressure on prices.  (LI Business News - December 21, 2012)

    Businesses across the nation are struggling to find talented accounting and finance professionals, specifically business systems analysts, tax accountants and auditors. And they're coping by seeking out less qualified individuals or increasing the salaries they're willing to pay.  (LI Business News - December 21, 2012)

    Larry Weinberger, a principal in MGD Investments, which owns nearly two dozen retail properties in Nassau County, said major malls were virtually unaffected by the storm, but tenants in strip centers and small downtowns bore the brunt of Sandy's wrath. He said several vacancies in Bellmore and Wantagh (both Nassau) were left by store owners who suffered losses from water damage and a big drop in customers in the wake of the storm.  But rents in the area, which average between $20 and $30 a square foot, likely won't change much if at all, Batista said, since the demand for high-trafficked retail space - even near the water - remains strong. That means prime spots won't be vacant for long.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, if you are age 55 with a family of four and making $93,000, you may be eligible to get a health plan in the New York state's individual exchange and receive financial assistance of $14,865.  Lower-earning families may be eligible for Medicaid - virtually free health insurance with some excellent benefits. Both seem like very good deals.  Not everyone, however, is eligible to use the individual exchange. The health care reform law excludes people who are getting coverage through their employer, those currently on Medicare and the undocumented. Aimed at the nearly 2.7 million New Yorkers under age 65 who do not have health insurance coverage, this will be the first really big impact from the Affordable Care Act.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    Woodbridge, N.J.-based Onyx Equities has purchased a 235,000-square-foot office building at 900 Stewart Ave. in Garden City (Nassau).  The new ownership will soon begin a capital improvement program and will employ the building's original architect, the Spector Group in Woodbury (Nassau) to design renovations. Onyx has hired Jericho-based Rochlin Organization as exclusive leasing agent, according to a statement. There is currently 77,452 square feet available for lease.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    Estimates have pegged total business costs of Hurricane Sandy at $65.6 billion, much of which can be attributed to data loss. A study by disaster recovery author Jon Toiga reports that a company that experiences a computer outage lasting for more than 10 days, as many did in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, will never fully recover financially and that 50 percent of those companies will be out of business within five years.  As a result, more local businesses are looking more seriously at putting their data in the cloud, choosing to grin and bear related drawbacks that were previously deal breakers. Even those companies that had been casually looking at cloud computing have accelerated their timelines following the storm.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has established a committee of business leaders to advise him on economic development issues.  The newly established committee will be charged with helping Bellone craft pro-growth policies that foster job creation within Suffolk County, as well as improving ties between Bellone's office and the business community.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    To accommodate increased demand from do-it-yourselfers and contractors fixing up after Hurricane Sandy, New York and New Jersey locations of Home Depot are still hiring temporary associates for 120-day assignments.  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    Heading into 2013, many players in the commercial real estate industry are cautiously optimistic.  The last year has seen an uptick in major retailers signing deals and opening stores.  "Activity has been significant this year - not at the levels of 2005, but certainly higher than 2008 or 2009 when landlords were hoping to get a proposal from anyone," said Jayson Siano, managing principal of Sabre Real Estate in Garden City (Nassau).  "National retailers are now aggressively looking for opportunities."  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    JPMorgan Private Bank has made two key hires on Long Island, growing its operation catering to wealthy clients, endowments and foundations.  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    Among the few silver linings to Hurricane Sandy is this: the superstorm has confirmed that wastewater and solid-waste treatment will be a job-creating economic driver on Long Island for the next decade and beyond.  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    (Update) Work is to start immediately on reconstructing Ocean Parkway and the Robert Moses traffic circle, parts of which were buckled, broken and torn apart by superstorm Sandy.  Three construction companies -- two based on Long Island and one in Queens -- have signed a contract to repair the road and bring in sand to create new beach dunes.  Bove Industries of East Setauket (Suffolk), John P. Picone Inc., headquartered in Lawrence (Nassau), and Tully Construction, based in Flushing (Queens), will work through the winter to get the $33.2 million job done. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said he wants the road fully open before the summer beach and tourist season.  (Newsday - December 21, 2012)

    Oyster Bay's cautious approval of a senior housing development in Hicksville (Nassau) paves a path for community renewal by removing two asphalt plants whose traffic, stockpiles and soot have frustrated residents for decades.  The Oyster Bay Town Board on Tuesday passed a trio of resolutions that promises to transform the industrial area.  The plants ceased operation in November, town Supervisor John Venditto said.  The 15-acre Twin County Recycling Corp. site at 449 W. John St., where a plant began operating in 1982, is to become a 390-unit complex for residents 55 and older.  (Newsday - December 21, 2012)

    Smithtown's planning board (Suffolk) has approved a proposed 186-bed assisted living facility in Nesconset, despite objections from several area residents.  The board on Wednesday voted unanimously for the Amber Court project, which would be built on a 6.7-acre parcel on Lake Avenue, near Park Avenue. The facility needs approval from the town board, which is expected to consider it next year.  (Newsday - December 20, 2012)

    The Long Island region won $59.7 million in economic development funds from New York state on December 19, but was not named a top performer.  The state named Central New York and the North Country as the two top regions, each earning more than $90 million.  The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes were also named "best plan" regions, earning $91.1 million and $96.2 million, respectively.  A year ago, Long Island, western New York, the North Country and central New York were the top winners in the first competition for $785.5 million in tax incentives. Long Island alone won $101 million.  This year's Long Island proposal includes 115 projects submitted for competitive funding, including 16 of those the council deemed priority projects.  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    New York state has approved nine Long Island firms for low-cost power as part of a program designed to promote job growth and expansion by reducing electricity costs.  The Economic Development Power Allocation Board on Tuesday approved the Long Island firms for a total of 2,724 megawatts of discounted electricity for seven-year contracts through the ReCharge New York program.  The actual costs vary depending on amounts and contracts, but a spokesman for the board said the rates would be far less than typical electric charges.  The LI firms are:

    • - Melville (Suffolk)-based Giant II NewCo., a biopharmaceuticals firm, was approved for 730 megawatts,
    • - Commack (Suffolk)-based MindSHIFT Technologies, a tech firm with data center operations, 700 megawatts
    • - Yaphank (Suffolk)-based Framerica Corp., 496 megawatts
    • - Medford Multicare Center (Suffolk) was approved for 296 megawatts,
    • - Holtsville (Suffolk)-based DiCarlo Distribution was approved for 276 megawatts and
    • - Islandia (Suffolk)- based Printex Packaging Corp was approved for 136 megawatts.
    • - Holtsville (Suffolk)-based County Frame Corp. was approved for 70 megawatts, and
    • - Freeport (Nassau)-based Ama Young Assoc., 10 megawatts and
    • - Freeport (Nassau)-based Love and Quiches 10 megawatts.

    (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan assured New York elected officials Tuesday that the federal government was committed to providing the economic relief needed to rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, and he urged Congress to take swift action to approve President Barack Obama's $60 billion aid package for the region.  Donovan met with Long Island's two county executives and a cadre of other local elected officials at the Nassau County Emergency Response Center following a tour of several damaged communities along Long Island's south shore.  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    Confidence among U.S. homebuilders inched up this month, to the highest level in more than six and a half years, as builders reported the best market for newly built homes since the housing boom.  The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released December 18 increased 2 points to 47 from a revised 45 in November. That's the highest reading since April 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.  Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The last time the index was at or above that level was in April 2006, with a reading of 51. It has been trending higher since October 2011, when it stood at 17.  (LI Business News - December 18, 2012)

    Melville (Suffolk)-based North American Partners in Anesthesia, which provides anesthesia services to hospitals nationwide, has acquired two practices in Pennsylvania employing 50 clinicians.  The firm acquired Northeast Anesthesiology in Scranton, Penn., and Anesthesiology Solution in Honesdale, Penn. Terms of the transactions, which closed Dec. 14, were not revealed.  (LI Business News - December 18, 2012)

    New York state unveiled a series of tax relief measures today to aid businesses recovering from Hurricane Sandy.  Under the new measures, tax returns and payments that are late due to Hurricane Sandy will be treated as filed on time without being subject to penalty and interest.  The guidelines and details on eligibility for each of these relief provisions can be found on the State Tax Department's Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief website.  (LI Business News - December 18, 2012)

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency is renting 50,000-square-foot of warehouse space at 2500 Marcus Ave. in Lake Success to house supplies for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  The lease was signed on behalf of FEMA by the U.S. General Services Administration. The building is a 135,000-square-foot, mixed-use condominium property with a 20-foot-high warehouse ceiling.  (LI Business News - December 18, 2012)

    With so many FEMA crews and insurance adjusters in town, the cleanup after Hurricane Sandy has been a boon for Long Island hotels.  Lodging members of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau are still enjoying occupancy levels of 95 percent.  At this time of year, the normal rate is 65 percent.  (LI Business News - December 12, 2012)

    The state will give $1 million in federal funding to enhance the competitiveness of its agricultural products, including about $200,000 to support the growth of New York's wine, beer, and spirits industry.  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    (Update) Roughly 40 startup companies turned out in Uniondale (Nassau) on December 11 looking for advice from seasoned veterans on how to get their companies off the ground.  The meeting was the first for Long Island Startups, created by Angel Dough Ventures Founder Andrew Hazen, held at the offices of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, where Hazen also serves as an attorney.  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    J&J Bagel Deli has opened a 1,280-square-foot store at Parkway Plaza on Glen Cove Road in Carle Place (Nassau).  (LI Business News - December 19, 2012)

    Security guards at John F. Kennedy International Airport, who are employees of Air Serv Corp. and Global Elite Group Inc., had voted last week to authorize a strike on December 20, over issues including training and equipment, but have now decided to hold off pending the outcome of meetings with their employers.  The workers are not unionized but are being supported in their efforts by 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.  (Newsday - December 18, 2012)

    Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) on Tuesday wrote to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, legislative Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) and Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) requesting restoration of $3.9 million in funds for 2013 for the Department of Human Services' Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Development Disabilities in light of Friday's deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six adults dead.  The independent Office of Legislative Budget Review found that contractual services for mental health care were cut by 45.2 percent in the 2013 budget after funding for several programs was eliminated. Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled legislature passed the 2013 budget along a party-line vote last month.  (Newsday - December 18, 2012)

    (Update) Some Senate Republicans on December 18 argued for a short-term aid package for superstorm Sandy that would put off until next year consideration of much of the funding in the Democrats' $60.4 billion relief bill. Those proposals emerged on the second day of Senate debate on the aid bill as some key Republicans questioned the need to pass such a large aid package so quickly, saying that funding instead could be approved in stages over time.  The Senate will consider amendments to the bill Wednesday, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Thirty amendments had been offered by day's end.  (Newsday - December 18, 2012)

    Town highway departments across Long Island are busy removing tree stumps left behind by Hurricane Sandy, providing lots of work for town employees as well as stump-removal contractors.  (Newsday - December 18, 2012)

    Long Island's three public four-year colleges, SUNY Old Westbury (Nassau), Farmingdale State and Stony Brook University (both Suffolk) report being better able to accommodate increased enrollment and to plan for growth going forward since the passage of the SUNY 2020 legislation, which permitted tuition increases of up to $300 per year over a five-year period.  As a result of the increased funding, Stony Brook recently announced plans to add more than 250 faculty members between now and 2016.  Farmingdale plans to hire 70 new faculty members at a rate of seven per year. Farmingdale is also adding its first graduate program - a Master of Science in engineering technology management - next fall, with other masters programs to follow within a few years. Farmingdale expects to increase its enrollment by 1,000 students to 8,400 in the next decade.  The College of Old Westbury hired 19 new and replacement teachers this year and expects to hire a handful more next year.  (LI Business News, December 18, 2012)

    Public TV station WLIW21 is set to debut the Long Island Business Report, a weekly half-hour program hosted by Jim Paymar, on Jan. 2.  The series will air Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 11:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on WLIW21 and be available online after the broadcast.  The program, being taped at Molloy College, will look at economic and business trends in Nassau and Suffolk counties.  The show's first season will look at subjects including downtown revitalization, public affairs, aerospace and defense manufacturing, women in business, regional planning, health care, affordable housing and local nonprofits.  (LI Business News, December 18, 2012)

    (Update) While the Long Island Power Authority continues tallying up expenses related to Hurricane Sandy, including many for which it hopes to be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it is still waiting for the federal agency to pay it back for some expenses related to Tropical Storm Irene.  (LI Business News, December 18, 2012)

    Hempstead Town will begin searching next month for a new developer of the former Argo Theater property in Elmont (Nassau) -- after the old developer pulled out.  The town board selected RD Management Llc in July 2011 to develop the 2.9-acre site and adjacent properties on Hempstead Turnpike and Elmont Road.  Initial plans called for a 35,000-square-foot supermarket, but the Manhattan-based company withdrew from the project last summer, town spokesman Michael Deery said.  (Newsday, December 18, 2012)

    Voters in the Islip Union Free School District (Suffolk) have approved a $47 million bond referendum to make long-awaited improvements to the district's five buildings, performing arts spaces and athletic fields.  The referendum passed, 372-291, on Thursday, and the board of education approved the bond that night.  Superintendent Susan Schnebel said the 15-year bond would fix "long-standing health and safety challenges, looking at code deficiencies with the American Disabilities Act" and address building deterioration. The district's newest building is 41 years old.  (Newsday, December 18, 2012)

    Previously Reported

    Motorola has sold 25 acres of vacant land that fronts the Long Island Expressway in Holtsville (Suffolk) for about $6.38 million.  The property lies on the North Service Road just west of Nicolls Road at Exit 62 and was purchased by a group called 495 Holdings, which is exploring plans for the site, including a possible athletic training facility.  (LI Business News - December 17, 2012)

    Business economists believe the country will see modest growth in 2013 with strength coming from a further rebound in housing which will help offset weakness in business investment.  In its latest survey of top forecasters, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) says it is looking for the economy to grow in 2013 by 2.1 percent after 2.2 percent growth in 2012. That would continue the same tepid growth the country has seen since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009.  Growth at that pace is not strong enough to make a significant improvement in unemployment. The NABE economists believe unemployment will average 7.7 percent for all of next year, right at the level it reached in November.  The 48 NABE economists on the survey panel had essentially the same outlook as their previous forecast in October. While they have modest expectations for 2013, they do see growth slowly improving as the year progresses.  (LI Business News - December 17, 2012)

    Marcum Search, which is based in Manhattan but has large Melville (Suffolk) offices with about 200 workers, has acquired the five North American offices of executive search firm Horton International.  Marcum currently does contingent work, in which it is paid a commission to fill positions. Firms on retainer, such as Horton, are paid to fill hiring needs as they arise.  (LI Business News - December 17, 2012)

    Nassau County and the City of Long Beach (Nassau) will receive $41 million in promised federal aid this week to help with superstorm Sandy cleanup efforts, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Sunday. Long Beach will receive $24 million and Nassau County will receive $17.2 million to pay for the massive debris-removal effort, according to the latest figures provided by FEMA last night.  At a news conference Cuomo urged Congress to pass the state's request for $32 billion in additional disaster recovery funds.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency has to date made seven awards to New York municipalities, totaling $291.7 million across the seven counties in the state worst affected by Sandy. (Newsday - December 16, 2012)

    Anti-gambling forces fear that the economic losses from Superstorm Sandy could help efforts to expand casino gambling in New York.  State lawmakers were already expected to consider a gambling amendment to the state constitution next year before Sandy walloped New York City and Long Island in late October. If the measure clears the Legislature for a second time in 2013, voters could make a final decision on whether to OK Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land as early as November.  A poll this summer by Siena College found 52 percent of likely voters supporting an amendment to expand Las Vegas-style casinos. But Siena's Steven Greenberg expects to see fluctuations in public support as the debate heats up and interests on both sides gear up for what is expected to be expensive public campaigns.  (LI Business News - December 14, 2012)

    Customers who lost service during Superstorm Sandy could be getting breaks on their bills from New York utilities.  The state Public Service Commission is set Thursday to consider requests from Consolidated Edison Inc., Orange and Rockland Utilities, National Grid, and New York State Electric and Gas to give credits for lost days of electric or gas service on customer bills.  The breaks on the service part of the bill would generally range from several dollars for residential customers to several hundred dollars for larger users like businesses, municipalities and lighting districts. They are based on the average number of days of lost service in a given area and will appear soon on bills if the commission approves the credits. The utilities have also suspended bill collection and credit actions against customers with past-due bills, either through the end of this month or January.  At the peak, New York utilities reported 2.1 million customers without service after Sandy hit on Oct. 29. Some people lost power for weeks. (Crain's NY - December 13, 2012)

    An agreement to be announced December 12 will resolve an unexpected snag that has in some cases added weeks of delays in advance insurance payments to New York property owners hit by Superstorm Sandy, depressing recovery efforts in neighborhoods.  Eleven major lending companies have agreed with the state Department of Financial Services to speed up their endorsements of borrowers' initial insurance checks, typically worth $5,000 to $20,000.  The lenders will also remove some new hurdles created for Sandy victims intended to protect the lenders' collateral in heavily damaged properties, said Benjamin Lawsky, the department's superintendent.  That should free up the critical first checks from a wait of two to three weeks and sometimes more, to a turnaround of just one or two days to policy holders.  Some banks had been requiring their customers to provide contractors' estimates and other receipts and records to show the advance insurance checks would go to repairing the assets covered by the mortgage, which are the borrowers' collateral for the mortgages. Those requirements will end under the deal as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's effort to speed private and public sector recovery by cutting bureaucracy.  (Crain's NY - December 12, 2012)

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved 730 disaster loans on Long Island totaling about $54.5 million.  The SBA said it approved about $51 million in disaster loans to Long Island homeowners and renters while 31 businesses received about $3 million.  Interest rates on the loans are as low as 1.68 percent for home owners; 3 percent for nonprofits and 4 percent for businesses.  The SBA makes disaster loans directly, rather than through financial institutions as it does for traditional loans, to speed the process.  To qualify for the loans, applicants need to apply in the proper county, show their credit worthiness and ability to repay.  (LI Business News - December 10, 2012)

    New York State has picked three contractors to repair Ocean Parkway, a 15.5-mile road that provides commuter access to many South Shore recreational areas and residential communities, and the Robert Moses State Park traffic circle.  The companies that submitted the winning bid of $33.2 million are Bove Industries of East Setauket (Suffolk), John P. Picone of upstate Williamsville (Erie County), and Tully Construction of Flushing (Queens).  Work on the Sandy-damaged parkway and traffic circle is expected to begin immediately.  Most of the work must be completed by April 24 with stiff penalties -- $25,000 a day -- if the successful bidder runs behind.  The Federal Highway Administration will fund the majority of the repair and restoration work through its Emergency Relief program.  (Newsday, December 14, 2012)

    Medicenter, an urgent health care facility, will open an 8,000 square-foot office at 6175 Sunrise Highway in Massapequa (Nassau County).  The agency gave no date for the opening.  It currently has offices in Huntington and Northport (both Suffolk).  (LI Business News, December 14, 2012)

    The Town of Oyster Bay is planning to sell a plot of landlocked property in a deal real estate executives say may pave the way for a long-proposed mall at the site of a former Cerro Wire factory.  The 15-acre town property, a former landfill and now part of a Public Works Department yard, lies just northeast of the 39-acre site owned by Michigan-based Taubman Centers.  The developer has spent more than 16 years and $150 million trying to build an upscale mall there.  Local developers point to the property's proximity to the proposed mall site and the fact that it has no access from public streets as signs that a deal with Taubman is likely.  Combining the two properties would ease the density of proposed construction at the site, possibly smoothing civic opposition.  Taubman has pitched the project as a much-needed boost to the regional economy, with 3,000 construction jobs, 2,000 retail jobs and $50 million in annual tax revenue in the offing.  But neighborhood opposition has been fierce, with area homeowners objecting to the project's size and future noise and traffic problems.  (LI Business News, December 14, 2012)   

    Speaking before the U.S. Senate's Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today, Long Island Association President Kevin Law urged members of Congress to make grants available to small businesses in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Currently small business owners can apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration - FEMA currently only makes residential grants- but Law worried that taking on a loan of any kind may be too daunting for many small businesses.  The most recent published data indicated the SBA has only approved about $3 million in loans to 31 Long Island businesses.  (LI Business News, December 13, 2012)

    With more than 10,000 homes in Nassau and Suffolk counties damaged or destroyed by the Hurricane Sandy, several local building trades contractors and remodeling firms are planning to hire more help to deal with the mountain of residential work, paid for largely from homeowners' insurance policies and Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief funds. They're also staffing up to cope with the estimated $520 million in repairs needed for public projects in the Island's cities, towns and villages.  DaVinci Construction with offices in Wantagh (Nassau) and Bay Shore (Suffolk), plans to more than double his current workforce of 45 to nearly 100 to meet the expected demand.  The Community Development Corp. of Long Island, which is administering FEMA's emergency repairs program in Suffolk, has hired 41 construction companies - 15 to do damage assessment and 26 for actual repairs - all funded through FEMA's Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power, or STEP, program.   Working seven days a week, the STEP contractors in Suffolk had completed 412 assessments that resulted in 186 work orders as of Dec. 6, though there are hundreds of other homes that will need more than a temporary fix.

    Nassau was especially hard-hit. County estimates project that more than 5,000 homes will need some kind of repair work. As of last week, 5,414 homes had been assessed for STEP assistance and 1,622 were deemed eligible for the program.  Mario Mattera, business agent for Plumbers Local 200, said at least half of the 20 percent of the union's previously unemployed members have found work as a result of the rebuilding effort.  A good portion of the remainder of Long Island's unemployed union carpenters are also bound for Sandy repair work, according to Anthony Macagnone, a representative with the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Local 290.  Both Macagnone and Mattera said the building unions were working alongside LIBI members, most of whom are nonunion contractors, in repairing damaged homes. All contractors participating in the FEMA program agreed to pay the prevailing labor rate for residential construction in a deal that also allowed the unions to provide the larger labor pool needed to meet the demand.  (LI Business News - December 13, 2012)

    (Update)  Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce the winners of the regional economic development council on Wednesday, December 19 at a special presentation in Albany, much like he did last December during the first year of the economic development council program's life.  Last year, Long Island was one of four regions across the state selected as having the best strategic plan, and won more than $100 million for economic development projects.  This year, the 10 regions will be again competing for part of a $785 million pot of money. The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council submitted 115 projects for competitive funding, including 16 of those the council deemed priority projects.

    The council is seeking $31 million for those priority projects, although a maximum of $25 million will be given out. Because Long Island was one of the four winning regions last year, it will be competing solely against the three other winning regions for two prizes of $25 million from the state for the projects, while the other two regions will receive only $5 million each.  The 16 priority projects include:

    • - The creation of a smart grid infrastructure on Long Island;
    • - Adding a third building to the Broad Hollow Bioscience Park;
    • - The construction of a 94,000-square-foot Winthrop-University Hospital medical research and education facility;
    • - The creation of a center for biomedicine on the campus of Stony Brook University;
    • - Infrastructure improvements at the Ronkonkoma Hub;
    • - Continued funding for Wyandanch Rising;
    • - Developing a mixed use project on the site of former United Artists Theater in Coram, now Wincoram Commons;
    • - Improving the sewer system in Hempstead Village;
    • - Creating a mixed-use committee at the Meadows at Yaphank;
    • - Expanding the Brookhaven Rail Terminal by constructing a 500,000-square foot refrigerated warehouse;
    • - Construction of 225,000 sq ft of hangar space and more office space at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, "SheltAir";
    • - Commercial fishing infrastructure improvements for Montauk East and Inlet Seafood;
    • - Creating STEM initiatives at Hofstra University, Adelphi University and Molloy College;
    • - Fostering more engineers on Long Island by having Farmingdale State College and the New York Institute for Technology develop their own EngINE initiative, pioneered last year by Stony Brook University; and
    • - Business investments at several local companies including Quality King Distributing, Hampton Transportation, Hampton Jitney, HF Corwin and Son, and Satur Farms.

    The other six regions will compete against each other for similar pots of money. Consolidated Funding Application funds and Excelsior jobs money will still be divided up among the 10 regions in a straight competitive format.

    Eleven Long Island projects were submitted for Excelsior Jobs program benefits totaling $13.3 million. Companies included for this portion of the application include Whitsons, Kedrion Biopharma, Perfumania, Wenner Bread, mindSHIFT, ATK/Maglev, Mirimus, Softheon, AJES Pharmaceuticals, Applied DNA Sciences and PK Metals Recycling. Expansion projects at these companies, totaling $172.8 million, would retain 1,562 jobs and create an additional 693 jobs, regional council officials said.

    (LI Business News - December 13, 2012)

    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply for a fourth straight week, a sign that the job market may be improving.  The US Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 29,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, the lowest in two months. It is the second-lowest total this year.

    New York was among the states with the biggest increases in applications compared to a week earlier. For the week ending Dec. 1, applications were up 11,025 because of layoffs in the transportation, construction and restaurant industries. But the state data is not seasonally adjusted. The total number of first-time jobless claims in New York is similar to the year-earlier period, indicating the spike in claims the week following Superstorm Sandy has subsided. According to the most recent data, jobless claims for the last week of November were 37,032, compared to 36,088 a year earlier.  (Crains NY Business, December 13, 2012)

    In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, while the Long Island auto industry faced storm-related problems - destroyed cars and insurance reimbursements - it handled the surge in demand for a product it typically ordered months in advance, boosting sales and walking a tightrope between profit and the need to help with the region's recovery.  About 230,000 insurance claims have been filed for vehicles damaged in areas affected by Sandy, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. But thousands more uninsured vehicles likely also were damaged, leading to sudden demand.  According to one dealer, "Sales have climbed because consumers have had to replace damaged vehicles," he said. "All we're doing is pulling business forward. We're seeing a spike. what's going to happen down the road?"  (LI Business News - December 13, 2012)


    Business Contractions and Closings

    New Items

    (Update) Officials at Long Beach Medical Center estimate that it will cost $32 million to fix damage and replace equipment ruined in flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.  (LI Business News - December 26, 2012)

    Extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy has caused the state parks department and developer Donald Trump to scuttle plans for a restaurant and catering facility at Jones Beach.  (LI Business News - December 26, 2012)

    U.S. shoppers spent cautiously this holiday season, a disappointment for retailers who slashed prices to lure people into stores and now must hope for a post-Christmas burst of spending.  (LI Business News - December 26, 2012)

    Stony Brook (Suffolk)-based maker of anti-counterfeit marking technology Applied DNA Sciences reported a net loss of $7.15 million for 2012 in its annual earnings statement released December 20.  The company also generated revenue of $1.85 million for the year ended Sept. 30.  (LI Business News - December 21, 2012)

    Park Electrochemical Corp., a Melville (Suffolk) maker of telecommunications components, said December 19 that its fiscal second-quarter sales dropped 13 percent, to $41.3 million.  The company said net income fell 12 percent, to $4.7 million, or 23 cents per share.  (Newsday - December 19, 2012)

    Many Long Island car dealers had a bad month in October, even if their showrooms and inventory weren't damaged by superstorm Sandy.  Registrations of new vehicles here fell by 16 percent in the month from a year earlier, according to newly-available figures from the Michigan-based auto data provider R.L. Polk & Co.  (Newsday - December 17, 2012)

    Moody's Investors Service is reviewing the Long Island Power Authority for a possible downgrade following high-level resignations that could create a "vacuum of leadership," the rating agency said.  (Newsday - December 11, 2012)

    Melville (Suffolk)-based Comtech Telecommunications Corp. yesterday said its first-quarter profits plunged 41 percent, to $7.4 million, as its defense-electronics sales slipped amid concerns over the "fiscal cliff."  (Newsday - December 6, 2012)

    Citigroup said December 5 that it will cut 11,000 jobs, about 4 percent of the company's workforce. The bulk of them, about 6,200 jobs, will come from Citi's consumer banking unit, which handles everyday functions like branch services and checking accounts.  (Newsday - December 5, 2012)

    Local governments across New York state are staring down an $89 billion shortfall for infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years, according to a new report issued today by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.  The shortfall stems from materials and fuel prices that have risen at much faster rates than government spending.  To offset the shortfall, DiNapoli recommended local governments take several actions, including advocating for increased funding from the federal government, looking into other pooled financial vehicles to offer low- or no-cost access to capital, engaging in long-term capital planning and creating regional structures for municipal cooperation.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    In this week's poll, 61 percent of responders said their companies are not currently hiring, leaving just 39 percent to indicate that their companies are looking for new employees.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    About 70 percent of New York State Society of CPAs members polled from Oct. 10 to Oct. 25 said they expect business conditions in the state to show little to no improvement in the coming year.  More than 70 percent said they approve of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's economic policies, but 78.6 percent said business taxes are too high and 52.6 percent believe business conditions remained largely the same under his administration.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    Long Island over the past year lost 2,700 private sector jobs, a 0.3 percent decline, to 1.05 million in November, while the state's count grew by 1.2 percent and the nation grew by 1.8 percent.  A labor department analyst specializing in Long Island for the labor, attributed the decline to the impact of Hurricane Sandy.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    In the latest sign of consolidation in the banking industry, New Jersey-based Investors Bank is acquiring Roma Financial Corp., its seventh acquisition since 2008. It earlier acquired Brooklyn Federal Bancorp, a five-branch institution including three Long Island branches.  Other banks also have been growing via merger in the New York and New Jersey region. Buffalo-based M&T Bank is acquiring Paramus, N.J.-based Hudson City Bancorp, which has 135 branches, including 29 in downstate New York and 12 in Suffolk County.  (LI Business News - December 20, 2012)

    Millions of commuters and visitors will have to pay more to ride the New York City's subways and buses early next year, and hundreds of thousands of drivers and railroad passengers also will face higher costs to commute.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved the fare increases on December 19, though several members said they did so reluctantly in the face of what they characterized as insufficient state support and a lack of success finding other sources of money.  (Crain's NY - December 19, 2012)

    One of New York City's largest dairy distributors, Beyer Farms, has closed its doors after losing its main milk distribution contract.  About 150 workers lost jobs, including 138 members of Teamsters Local 584, most of them delivery drivers.  Union president Frank Wunderlich says the Dec. 11 shutdown was a surprise. The Queens-based company was in business over 70 years.  (LI Business News - December 18, 2012)

    Manufacturing activity in New York contracted for the fifth month in a row in December, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The decline, however, could not be attributed to superstorm Sandy as New York manufacturers said the storm's effect on business has mostly dissipated.  The monthly report of manufacturing activity compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said the general business conditions index was still negative -- indicating a contraction in manufacturing -- and fell about three points to negative 8.1 this month.  The continued decline is a result of the global economic slowdown, as Europe and Japan enter recessions and Chinese commerce stagnates, said Pearl Kamer, chief economist of the Long Island Association.  (Newsday, December 18, 2012)

    Many Long Island car dealers had a bad month in October, even if their showrooms and inventory weren't damaged by superstorm Sandy.  Registrations of new vehicles here fell by 16 percent in the month from a year earlier, according to newly-available figures from the Michigan-based auto data provider R.L. Polk & Co.  But it appears likely dealers will make up the lost sales -- and then some -- as Long Islanders replace cars destroyed by the storm. The National Insurance Crime Bureau, a not-for-profit organization supported by the insurance industry, estimates that 230,000 vehicles were destroyed or at least damaged in states affected by Sandy.  (Newsday, December 18, 2012)

    Previously Reported

    Steinway Auto Parts, a Hempstead (Nassau)-based, auto parts distributor with six stores, in Hempstead, Freeport (both Nassau), Manhattan and Queens, has been acquired by Autopart International, based in Boston.   Steinway, which provides parts and service to professional installers, was already distributing some Autopart International product lines ahead of the deal.  Autopart President Jim Durkin said the current Steinway team, led by owner Frank Festa, would continue to oversee operations of the newly acquired stores.  In addition, the six Steinway locations will continue to operate under the name "Steinway" for the time being, eventually being phased out in place of Autopart International.  (LI Business News - December 17, 2012)

    The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency said it will not consider a developer's plan to buy a nursing home in Westbury (Nassau) and request a 10-year extension of the facility's tax abatement agreement.  The IDA board was scheduled to make a decision about The Bristal Assisted Living facility during a meeting this Wednesday, but IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said in an interview, "It's not going to be brought to the board for decision in its present form."  Lawmakers have argued that Bristal has had 13 years of tax abatements with at least three years left on its payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, and that a 10-year extension is unnecessary. That could deprive the community of nearly $7 million over the next 10 years, officials said.  (Newsday - December 16, 2012)

    Nassau's newly privatized bus system is on pace to carry fewer people in 2012 than it did when the MTA operated it last year, but the chief of the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) company still says the agency's freshman year was a success. Through September, NICE carried 22,265,492 passengers -- about 3 percent fewer than MTA Long Island Bus carried in the first nine months of 2011.  Veolia Transportation, a private bus operator based in Lombard, Ill., took over the system from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in January.  (Newsday - December 16, 2012)

    Microsoft Corp. is relocating 39 workers from its Islandia (Suffolk) offices to its corporate headquarters in Washington state.  A Microsoft spokesman said all the workers affected have been offered to have their same jobs in Redmond, Wash., where the software giant is based.  The employees are in the firm's Microsoft Office division in program development.  It is not known if all the employees will move to Washington. They have until March to decide, according to a New York State Department of Labor WARN notice ( (LI Business News - December 07, 2012)

    More than half of all Long Islanders have some level of difficulty paying their rent or mortgage each month, resulting in most of them considering in moving off Long Island within the next five years, a new survey from the Long Island Index has revealed.  The survey, conducted by the Stony Brook University Center for Survey Research between Sept. 18 and Oct. 28, focused specifically on Long Islanders' attitudes about residential life. The most glaring statistics were the 58 percent of respondents who said they had some difficulty paying their rent or mortgage and the 49 percent who said they are somewhat or very likely to leave the Island in the next five years.  "The number of Long Islanders who are having difficulty meeting their monthly housing costs remains at an all-time high," said Professor Leonie Huddy, director of the Stony Brook University Center for Survey Research. "Unless there is a sudden and sustained increase in local household income, residents will look to leave as soon as the property market bounces back."  The obvious culprit is the region's high property tax rate, which 81 percent of respondents called a very or extremely serious problem. But the problem doesn't stop there; 62 percent of survey respondents said that the lack of affordable housing is a very serious problem, as evidenced by the 24 percent of individuals 18 to 34 years of age who currently live with a parent or other relative.  (LI Business News, December 13, 2012)

    Fewer Long Island homes went into contract last month compared to a year earlier as superstorm Sandy disrupted the residential market, the Multiple Listing Service reported.  Pending sales dropped to 1,257 in November, a 13.7 percent decline from 2011. Closings slid as well, falling to 1,349 compared to 1,409, a year-over-year decline of 4.3 percent. Pending sales fell further in hard-hit Nassau -- down 19.1 percent -- than in Suffolk, where they dropped 8.7 percent.  The supply of homes has fallen. In November, 17,481 homes were on the market, compared to 21,550 a year earlier.  The median closing price edged up in both counties compared to last year, increasing 5.8 percent to $400,000 in Nassau and 1.1 percent to $313,500 in Suffolk.  Pending sales prices dipped 1.3 percent in Suffolk and were unchanged in Nassau.  (Newsday - December 13, 2012)

    Declining fees and soaring costs have led physicians to merge their practices to form mega-groups or to become hospital employees in increasing numbers.  The trend is expected to accelerate in 2013 as the nation moves toward health care reform.  "Reimbursements are under attack - Medicare reimbursements have been cut and commercial insurers have done their best to ratchet down reimbursements for doctors," said Robert Wild, chairman and managing partner of the Great Neck law firm Garfunkel Wild, which has a full-service health care division. "Small practices are finding it's too expensive and difficult to retain that model."  All the while, the expenses associated with running a medical practice continue to mount. In addition to the high costs of malpractice insurance and general office overhead, doctors are being pushed to implement costly electronic medical records systems.  (LI Business News - December 13, 2012)

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