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Business Expansions and Contractions - Long Island Region March 2013

Business Expansions and Openings

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Allstate Insurance Co. will construct a 70,000-square-foot office building in Hauppauge (Suffolk) to house its New York regional headquarters.  The national insurance company currently operates out of four buildings in Hauppauge, but informed Islip town officials it wished to create a standalone building to put all of its operations under one roof.  The Islip Industrial Development Agency worked with Allstate to secure a 24.66-acre lot on Veterans Memorial Highway for Allstate to build a five-story high-rise building, across from Hauppauge High School.  Bill Mannix, head of the Islip IDA, said the property already has two towers on it, and was originally laid out to allow for a third, although until now that hasn't happened.  Islip Supervisor Tom Croci said the capital investment for the construction is estimated at $23 million.  Allstate and the property's owner, Hauppauge Office Park LLC, will receive property tax abatement of $1.2 million, sales tax benefits of $1.1 million and mortgage recording tax incentives worth $178,500 through the IDA as a result of the deal.  (LI Business News - March 12, 2013)

BankUnited opened its first New York branch on March 11 at 445 Broadhollow Road in Melville (Suffolk).  This will be the first of four New York branches slated to debut in the coming months.  Miami Lakes, Fla.-based BankUnited, which went public in 2011, includes nearly 100 branches in Florida and about $11.7 billion in assets.  The company employs about 1,360 and provides a wide range of commercial and consumer banking services in 15 Florida counties as well as New York.  (LI Business News - March 12, 2013)

If you've waited in line lately, there's a good chance Queue Solutions had a hand in keeping you on the straight and narrow.  Bohemia (Suffolk)-based Queue manufactures and markets the so-called crowd-control barriers used at airports, banks, movie theaters and just about anywhere people line up for goods or services.  The industry has come a long way from the fuzzy velour ropes and chrome-topped poles that nightclub patrons are used to navigating, although Queue makes those, too. Today's crowd-control barriers can sport display advertising or hand disinfectant dispensers. Some come stamped with QR codes, allowing digital marketers to pitch online ads to those on line.  The 2-year-old company teams former executives of the British firm Tensator, which invented the widely used retractable belt barrier and has its U.S. headquarters in Bay Shore (Suffolk).  (LI Business News - March 12, 2013)

@250, the 41,000-square-foot structure -- named for its address, 250 South Service Rd. in Roslyn Heights (Nassau) -- is devised as the antithesis of the typical suburban strip shopping center in both its tenant mix and design.  The two-story, multimillion-dollar development centers around the theme of "wellness."  The project is not dependent solely on fashion retail, which is more vulnerable to economic cycles.  People invest in health and beauty in both good times and bad.  (Newsday - March 12, 2013)

(Update) "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," the sequel to the 2012 blockbuster about the web-slinging Marvel superhero, will be filmed at Grumman Studios and Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, a Nassau official with knowledge of the matter confirmed Monday.  The sequel is expected to be one of the most expensive films made on Long Island, both the county official and a representative for the state business agency Empire State Development Corp. said.  The movie, directed by Marc Webb, began shooting in early February and has been spotted filming around New York City, according to the TV/film location website On Location Vacations.  The distributor, Columbia Pictures, has said the film will be shot entirely in New York State.  (Newsday - March 12, 2013)

Plans to build stores, offices and apartments at the site of a long-vacant lumber yard on Main Street in downtown Smithtown (Suffolk) appear to be picking up speed.   The East Hampton-based owner of the site, Salvatore DiCarlo, is asking town officials to modify zoning restrictions and approve variances that would allow him to build on the 3-acre property.  Town officials have signaled they support the development.  A town board public hearing on the zoning petition is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 21 at the town senior center, 420 Middle Country Rd.  (Newsday - March 11, 2013)

(Update) After decades of cameos by Oheka Castle and the Hamptons, Long Island is attracting blockbuster film projects that government officials brag are creating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in new economic activity.  Some of the credit deservedly goes to Nassau County's Grumman and Gold Coast studios, state-of-the-art facilities that have attracted such major productions as the "Amazing Spider-Man" sequel - currently filming in Bethpage and Hicksville (both Nassau) - and the 2012 thriller "Man on a Ledge."  The smaller East Hampton (Suffolk) Studio has also chipped in, landing production work late last year on the Russell Crowe-Will Smith fantasy "Winter's Tale," after FEMA took over the Manhattan armory where filming was originally set.  But taxpayers have played important supporting roles by subsidizing the New York Film Production Credit, which offers filmmakers a refundable 30 percent on all costs incurred in New York. The program offers hundreds of millions of dollars annually to film and TV producers.  (LI Business News - March 8, 2013)

Continuing its transformation from solely manufacturing to managing MRI centers, Fonar Corp. has acquired a majority stake in a company that operates 12 Stand UP MRI scanning centers and two additional centers in Florida and New York for $34.4 million.  Melville (Suffolk)-based Fonar made the deal through its HMCA subsidiary, acquiring a majority stake in a newly created limited liability company, Health Diagnostics Management.  Fonar manufactures the Stand-UP MRI.   (LI Business News - March 7, 2013)

Farmingdale (Nassau) has the plan to revive its flagging downtown: a 130-plus page blueprint.   It also has the pieces to jump-start the process: a central location, a railroad station and a proposed mixed-use development.  What the village needs now is implementation, according to a group of residents, business owners and officials volunteering to take on the task.  They have joined the newly formed Downtown Master Plan Implementation Committee.  (Newsday - March 7, 2013)

The Babylon (Suffolk) Industrial Development Agency closed on four real estate deals last week, an unofficial record for the agency.  The acquisition, renovation and expansion projects will be assisted by IDA tax abatements that will help create and retain more than 500 jobs, according to a statement.  Among the projects that received IDA incentives is construction company Posillico Group, which is embarking on a $10 million modernization program at its Farmingdale facility.  Posillico is making improvements to a rail spur so it can ship and receive materials by train, taking 500 trucks off the Long Island Expressway in its first year of operation. The project will create eight new jobs while retaining 75 jobs.  Industrial Threaded Products got IDA incentives for its $1.3 million purchase of a 23,000-square-foot building at 777 Mount Ave. in Wyandanch.  The company is relocating from leased space in Bay Shore (Suffolk), bringing 30 jobs.  E.C. Wood and Co., a manufacturer of custom architectural millwork, furniture and fixtures, got IDA assistance for its move from Brooklyn to Deer Park. The deal included a $1.3 million acquisition of a 20,000-square-foot building at 110 East Industry Court. The company is expected to bring 13 jobs.  The IDA also gave tax breaks to Catholic Health Services of Long Island, which inked a long-term lease for 49,000 square feet at 110 Bicounty Blvd. in Farmingdale.  CHSLI is consolidating several other offices throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties and bringing 400 employees to the Farmingdale building by the end of the year.  (LI Business News - March 6, 2013)      

The Boeing Co. has tapped Farmingdale (Suffolk)-based Telephonics to supply additional wireless communications systems used by engineers during aircraft assembly operations.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But this is the second time Chicago-based Boeing has ordered a supply of TruLink Wireless Intercommunication Systems from Telephonics, a longtime supplier of radar and other electronic avionics systems to mass-producers like Boeing and Northrop Grumman. The new purchase is a follow-up to an August 2012 order, Telephonics said in a statement.  Fulfillment of the new order is expected by June.  (LI Business News - March 6, 2013)

The Town of Huntington (Suffolk)'s namesake boutique hotel is closer to reality.   The town planning board has granted conditional site-plan approval to convert the old Town Hall building on Main Street into a hotel.  It will have 55 guest bedrooms in a new four-story addition to be built behind the existing historic structure at Main and Stewart Avenue.  The two buildings will be connected by a glass atrium, with the existing building used for a lobby, reception area, office space, conference room and bar. The new building will be built above an existing parking lot on Stewart Avenue.  (Newsday - March 6, 2013)

(Update) The 39-apartment mixed-use building that developers hope will replace a scrapped 85-room hotel in downtown Farmingdale (Nassau) could see full occupancy and may have a waiting list, a planning expert told the village board.   Residents at a March 4 public hearing were receptive to the project but cautious, challenging the village-hired planning firm and the developer on traffic congestion, tax benefits, marketability and how the project fits into Farmingdale's master plan.  The building would be the second portion of a $38 million complex of apartments and storefronts envisioned near the Long Island Rail Road station by developer Anthony Bartone, of Farmingdale. It is considered in line with the smart-growth development on which Farmingdale has staked the future of its downtown.  Officials on Monday delayed a decision on the building until next month.  (Newsday - March 6, 2013)

(Update) The new Long Beach (Nassau) boardwalk will be stronger than its predecessor, made of resilient tropical hardwood and furnished with antique aesthetic touches that will remind residents of its appearance decades ago, city officials announced March 5.   The project's engineer also said the boardwalk will cost more than $40 million -- $15 million more than city officials originally estimated -- prompting gasps from some in the crowd at the March 5 night's Long Beach City Council meeting.  City officials said bids for the rebuilding of the boardwalk -- a project viewed as key for the city's post-Sandy recovery -- will be opened March 28 now that the specifications are nearly in place.  (Newsday - March 6, 2013)

In an effort to further attract the motion picture and television industry to Nassau, County Executive Edward Mangano met on March 4 with 15 of the industry's location managers, film and commercial producers, directors and casting directors to begin a two-day tour of Nassau's hottest filming spots.  The former U.S. Navy-Grumman Corp. property in Bethpage is now the home of two successful production studios that encompass three buildings and nine sound stages.  Last year, Nassau County hosted more than 650 production days - more than Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. It is estimated the film industry provided $90 million in economic impact for Nassau in 2012. (Newsday - March 6, 2013)

Eighteen health-care employers -- a majority of them hospitals and nursing homes across Long Island -- attended a Suffolk County job fair on March 6.  There were more than 200 jobs available at the event, including skilled posts like certified nursing assistants and physical therapists, as well as clerical jobs, said Kirk Cronk, the director of business services at the Suffolk County Labor Department.  The health-care job fair took place at the Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center in Hauppauge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Among the employers looking to hire were Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, North Shore-LIJ Hospital and The Bristal Assisted Living.  (Newsday - March 5, 2013)

More than 6,000 outlets and 21 countries later, Dairy Queen is coming to Long Island.  First stop: Sunrise Highway in Massapequa (Nassau), where franchisee Laura Maier is setting up in a former Burger King with plans to open by Memorial Day.  A second Maier-run store is set for Nassau, although she's so far keeping mum on the location.  Maier is currently interviewing prospective employees, seeking between 80 and 100 part-timers to staff the Island's first DQ. She's also working on a local DQ Facebook page and a website at  (LI Business News - March 5, 2013)

The Islip (Suffolk) Industrial Development Agency has approved a lease with Sartorius Stedim North America, a move that will allow the company to relocate employees from California to Bohemia.  The 40,000-square-foot Bohemia space the German-owned pharmaceutical equipment manufacturer will be moving to is part of a larger facility that the IDA helped acquire for Aerotech Industrial, which owns the property.  The IDA helped negotiate a lease between the two companies.  Sartorius Stedim will consolidate some of its operations in California to the Bohemia facility, bumping its local workforce up to 170 employees.  (LI Business News - March 5, 2013)

(Update) In just a few months, the master developer for the $500 million Wyandanch Rising revitalization project, Albanese Organization Inc. of Garden City (Nassau), hopes to break ground for an apartment building, which would be the initiative's first major construction.  Wyandanch Rising is the Town of Babylon (Suffolk)'s public-private effort to revitalize the hamlet's downtown. It includes building a transit plaza near the Long Island Rail Road station, creating mixed-use buildings and completing the sewer line down Straight Path that has been under construction for more than a year.  The sewer work suffered delays in part due to superstorm Sandy, said Jonathan Keyes, the town's head of downtown revitalization. But, he said, "it didn't knock us off, we're still moving forward."  (Newsday - March 4, 2013)

(Update) New York State's five largest mortgage lenders and servicers have agreed to release more insurance settlement money to superstorm Sandy victims, making an estimated $75 million dollars immediately available to fix flood-battered homes, state officials said.  Citibank, Bank of America and Ocwen Financial Corp. have echoed pledges by JPMorgan Chase Bank and Wells Fargo to start paying out 75 percent of settlements directly to homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments. Previously, banks would release a maximum of 50 percent and hold the rest in escrow accounts to check against fraud and guarantee that homeowners use the money for repairs.  Insurance companies regularly issue large settlement checks jointly to homeowners and their mortgage lenders, which dispense some money up front and release the rest gradually as work on homes progresses. Those rules make sense during normal circumstances, but in the wake of Sandy, they have become a painful hurdle for homeowners, leaving them struggling to rebuild four months after the storm.  (Newsday - March 4, 2013)

A+ Technology and Security Solutions Inc., a surveillance systems company in Bay Shore (Suffolk), has received $12 million in venture capital funding from local firm Westbury Partners.  In return, Hauppauge (Suffolk)-based Westbury Partners will receive a minority equity stake in A+ Technology, although the exact percentage was not disclosed. The two companies began discussing a possible investment this past October.  The company plans to hire up to 30 new employees within the next year.  A+ Technology, founded in 1989, has provided security system solutions to local towns and businesses on Long Island, including Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma (Suffolk). The company focuses a majority of its business on school safety, which has become a hot issue since the shooting in Sandy Hook, Conn. last year that claimed the lives of students and teachers. (Newsday - March 4, 2013)

Bridgehampton National Bank held a grand opening this week for its 22nd branch and new offices in Hauppauge (Suffolk).  The full-service branch is at 898 Veterans Memorial Hwy.  Headquartered in Bridgehampton (Suffolk), the bank's corporate parent, Bridge Bancorp., reported a 16 percent rise in profits for last year's fourth quarter, on higher deposits and loans and the opening of two branches last year. Net income was $3.4 million or 39 cents a share in the quarter and $12.8 million or $1.48 per share for the year - 23 percent more than a year earlier.  (Newsday - March 4, 2013)

After revamping its real estate development crew late last year, Chick-Fil-A is back to looking to land some Long Island locations, brokers say.  The controversial Atlanta-based fast-food chain has been poking around for 1-acre-plus sites in Nassau and Suffolk counties to build its 3,500- to 4,000-square foot restaurants.  The privately held and family-owned Chick-fil-A has grown to become the second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States, with more than 1,615 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C.  Its annual sales now eclipse $4 billion.   (LI Business News - March 1, 2013)

Glass and metal fabricator Champion Metal & Glass Inc. is planning a $4.8-million expansion and wants to purchase 130 Motor Pkwy. in Hauppauge (Suffolk). The 40,000-square-foot building is double the size of the company's home in Deer Park (Suffolk).  Champion supplies glass stairs, curtain walls, and atriums, as well as ornamental railings and other metal products.  Its work can be seen in the JetBlue terminal at Kennedy Airport, Yankee Stadium, the World Trade Center site and Farmingdale State College's bioscience park.  (Newsday - March 1, 2013)

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency will hold a networking event April 10 in Huntington Village to introduce startup businesses in the county to government agencies and financiers that could help them.  IDA executive director Anthony Manetta said Thursday the startups should be in one of five industries: information technology, biotechnology, energy, green technology and pharmaceuticals.  The two-hour event will start at 6 p.m. in The Paramount theater at 370 New York Ave. Manetta said admission is free but registration before the event is required.  The IDA expects to spend about $3,500.  More information about the agency's Start-Up Connect initiative can be found at  (Newsday - March 1, 2013)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced the winner of a post-superstorm-Sandy Fire Island debris cleanup contract -- again.  The agency announced February 28 that California-based Environmental Chemical Corp. has become the latest firm to win the much-debated contract to remove storm debris from the barrier island -- for $10.1 million under Advanced Contracting Initiative protocol.  Initially, the job was supposed to go to a small, Suffolk-based company under Stafford Act guidelines, but after awarding the contract twice and withdrawing it twice due to various protests, the Army Corps decided to change course.  ACI allows the Corps to hire a previously approved contractor.  (Newsday - March 1, 2013)

Business Contractions and Closings

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is pursuing plans to remove the county from direct delivery of most health care services -- a move that could affect as many as 150 county jobs.  The administration is pressing ahead with ambitious efforts to shift direct care to third party providers to cut labor costs, gain higher aid reimbursements and jettison malpractice expenses. Bellone aides say the changes will enhance, not diminish, services.  Noting that state public health aid dropped from $30.4 million in 2008 to $16.3 million last year, Jon Schneider, deputy county executive, said, "The state is sending us a not so subtle message.  If we can find a way to save without impacting services it's a no-brainer."  Bellone signaled his intent to overhaul the health service in last month's state of the county message when he stated, "It's time for the county to get out of business of direct health care delivery." Bellone offered no details, and the administration has not estimated cost savings.  (Newsday - March 12, 2013)

Five historic farms face an uncertain future after superstorm Sandy breached, damaged or destroyed 4.5 miles of dikes, allowing saltwater to flood nearly 800 acres in Cutchogue and Orient (both Suffolk).  If the earthen barriers to prevent runoff and keep out the tides aren't repaired, the fields used for centuries to grow wildflowers, hedges, vegetables and fruit will continue to flood.  Despite $60 billion in Sandy aid, no federal or state agency or program appears to directly cover coastal farm repairs.  Farmers, local advocates and state senators have been scrambling for weeks to find ways to help cover some of the repair costs that range between $1.7 million and $2.7 million for the dikes.  The repairs are not part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mission, officials said.  Farmers would not be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Administration disaster recovery programs, an agency spokesman said.  (Newsday - March 12, 2013)

Google is cutting an additional 1,200 jobs in its Motorola division as the unprofitable cellphone maker struggles to compete.  Last summer, Google Inc. announced 4,000 Motorola job cuts.  The latest reductions are in addition to those and will be in countries including the United States, China and India.  When Mountain View, Calif.-based Google bought Motorola last year for $12.4 billion, it had about 20,000 employees.  The online search leader also expects to pare jobs at the division with a planned $2.35 billion sale of the Motorola set-top business, which has about 7,000 employees, including hundreds at the former Symbol Technologies HQ in Holtsville (Suffolk).  Google had about 53,000 employees as of late September.  (Newsday - March 8, 2013)

(Update) Northrop Grumman Corp. is unlikely to receive any of the $3 million in grant money and tax breaks awarded it by New York State in late 2011, officials said on March 7.  The aid was promised in return for pledges from the Virginia-based aerospace giant to make $11.6 million in improvements to its Bethpage (Nassau) campus and continue to employ 1,500 people there.  However, the workforce shrank by 100 jobs recently, and on March 4 executives announced plans to move 850 jobs to Florida and California.  That decision will leave Northrop Grumman with 550 employees locally at a new "Electronic Attack Center of Excellence" -- far short of what is required to get state assistance over the next 10 years, said three officials of Empire State Development Corp., the main business aid agency in New York.  The officials also confirmed that Northrop Grumman did not tell New York State in advance about the planned move of jobs off Long Island, so the state couldn't attempt to dissuade the company.  Most of the jobs are going to Florida, which offered incentives. (Newsday - March 8, 2013)

(Update) The 850 soon-to-be displaced Northrop Grumman workers will likely not be out of work for long.  The Aerospace and Defense Diversification Alliance in Peacetime Transition (ADDAPT), an organization representing local aerospace and defense manufacturers, has agreed to take the lead in finding employment for the highly skilled workers with Long Island manufacturing companies. ADDAPT will work with the Department of Labor to place as many workers as possible.  Jamie Moore, chairman of ADDAPT, said he's seen three resumes from current Northrop Grumman workers so far, and knows of "between five and 10" who have preemptively reached out to companies to seek new employment. It's still unknown how many ADDAPT will wind up placing.  (LI Business News - March 8, 2013)

Federal authorities have released a list of New York airports where control towers may be closed or lose overnight operations because of automatic federal budget cuts.  The Federal Aviation Administration has said they'll take comments from airport executives and others about the proposal until March 13 and issue a final list on March 18.  Air traffic controller and TSA worker furloughs are expected to begin about April 7, unless negotiations in Washington head off the cuts.  The facilities that could close are Binghamton Tower in Johnson City, Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach (Suffolk), Niagara Falls International, Ithaca Tomkins Regional, Dutchess County in Wappingers Falls and Griffiss International in Rome.  There are 238 airports across the country on the tower closing list.  Among 72 towers that could lose midnight shifts are Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.  (LI Business News - March 8, 2013)

(Update) New York's senior senator on March 5 blasted Northrop Grumman Corp. for "betraying" Long Island with a plan to move 850 of its 1,400 local jobs to Florida and California.  Sen. Charles Schumer said the New York congressional delegation, at Northrop Grumman's behest, won millions of dollars in continued funding for the E-2D Hawkeye Navy surveillance plane in 2009.  In return, company executives promised to maintain and increase its Bethpage operation, where the plane's design work has been done -- but now will go to Melbourne, Fla.  (Newsday - March 6, 2013)

Northrop Grumman Corp. on March 4 said that it will move 850 jobs off Long Island by next year, leaving just 550 workers out of a workforce that exceeded 25,000 in the 1980s.  The jobs are going to Florida and California in the latest cost-saving consolidation of functions by the aerospace company. It's acting in the face of steadily declining Pentagon budgets, including those in the current automatic spending cuts known as the sequestration.  An unknown number of the 850 workers will be offered transfers.  The consolidation is expected to be completed sometime next year.  (Newsday - March 5, 2013)

Cablevision Systems Corp. is combining MSG Varsity with Optimum Local, the company's local programming unit, in a move resulting in the loss of about 100 jobs across the firm's territory.  The Bethpage (Nassau)-based firm, which has local personnel across the tri-state area, said the merger will create savings and efficiencies.  Layoffs took effect in mid-February with severance provided for workers in regions ranging from Poughkeepsie to New Jersey and Long Island.  Cablevision said it will expand MSG Varsity's programming to include local public affairs, educational and Optimum shows as well as tri-state-area high school sports programming.  News12 Long Island is not impacted by the merger, which includes public access and local programming such as "Meet the Leaders" filmed by the local programming group and public affairs shows.  The new programming line-up will begin airing on MSG Varsity on channel 14 in mid-2013.  (LI Business News - March 4, 2013)

Hess is getting out of the gas station business and ridding itself of its energy trading and marketing businesses, as it shifts its focus further into exploration and production.  The company will also nominate a slate of six independent directors to its board, replacing six that already hold seats.  The announcement arrives about a month after the hedge fund Elliott Management, one of the company's largest shareholders, accused the board of "poor oversight," and said that the company's management was responsible for more than a "decade of failures."  Shedding the green and white gas stations that stretch from New Hampshire to Florida, the vast majority of which are owned by Hess rather than franchisees, will allow the company to broaden exploration and production capabilities.  (LI Business News - March 4, 2013)

Long Island country clubs are suffering from shrinking membership from austerity and old age.  For many, the trouble started at the end of 2008 with the onset of the financial crisis and the significantly lower bonuses and layoffs that followed.  For a few, it was the financial strain of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.  The most recent culprit has been the weather.  (LI Business News - March 1, 2013)

(Update)  A vote to strike Stop & Shop stores on Long Island has been held off until March 4.  Members of the supermarkets workers union were originally slated to have a strike vote today, after contract talks between the two sides had stalled.  If they vote to strike, more than 1,100 meat, seafood and deli workers at Stop & Shop stores who belong to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342 would participate in "job actions" against the chain, according to a union statement.  Local 342 notified its members late Thursday night that the emergency meeting and strike vote originally scheduled for Friday would be rescheduled for Monday.  (LI Business News - March 1, 2013)

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