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Business Expansions and Contractions - Long Island Region June 2013

Business Expansions and Openings

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Officials from the Greater Farmingdale (Nassau) Community Land Trust (CLT), a nonprofit  group, plan to build a 100 percent affordable housing development for new residents, including young professionals, who they say can help revitalize downtown.  (Newsday - June 30, 2013)

Ronkonkoma (Suffolk)-based supplement maker NBTY and the Town of Hempstead's (Nassau) career center are two of the latest recipients of Empire State Development grants.  Empire State Development gave NBTY $75,000 to help convert an existing facility into a 60,000-square-foot nutrition bar manufacturing plant. The project, completed in October 2012, created 200 new jobs.  Hempstead's Department of Occupational Resources received a $427,535 grant to help the agency with its assistance to job seekers and businesses through its HempsteadWorks Career Center.  The goal of the project is to educate, train, and provide jobs at Long Island firms to economically disadvantaged youth, veterans, individuals with disabilities and older workers enrolled in the program.  The two grants are part of $22.9 million in funding from Empire State Development for projects that will create 520 new jobs and retain more than 2,500, according to a statement.  (LI Business News - June 28, 2013)

Suffolk County on June 27 offered nearly $2 million in tax breaks to U.S. Nonwovens Corp., a manufacturer of cleaning supplies based in Brentwood that is reportedly considering an expansion in another state.  U.S. Nonwovens has 546 employees at five locations in Suffolk. They earn, on average, $33,333 per year, records show.  In addition to out-of-state locations, the company is considering a 180,192-square-foot building at 360 Moreland Rd. in Commack. It would cost $16.6 million to purchase, renovate and equip the facility for manufacturing.  To support that project, the county's industrial development agency proposes to reduce or freeze property taxes by $1.8 million on three of the company's buildings plus the new one in Commack over 12 to 15 years.  The IDA also offered a sales-tax exemption of $45,282, and $115,500 off the mortgage recording tax for the Commack factory.  In return for the help, U.S. Nonwovens would add 90 people to its payroll by 2016 and 200 more by 2019.

Separately, the IDA on Thursday approved $578,846 in tax breaks for Photonics Industries International Inc.  The Bohemia-based manufacturer of lasers used in the production of Apple and Samsung smartphones plans to open a factory in Ronkonkoma. The $6.3-million project will add 40 people to a local payroll of 70. Wages, on average, are $56,143.  (Newsday - June 28, 2013)

Private equity activity was sparse on Long Island in 2012, according to the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC).  PEGCC released a report that said New York State attracted $15.6 billion in private equity investments for 96 companies in 2012.  Of that figure, 15 companies were from the Long Island area.  Because of the small size of some investments and undisclosed deal terms, the value of most of the investments on Long Island was not known.  Of note were the $675 million buyout of aircraft software company CAMP Systems Solutions in Ronkonkoma by GTCR and the $215 million of development capital invested in Melville-based payment processor EVO Payments International from Madison Dearborn.  Private equity investments are typically long-term, made to gain majority control of a company, and focused on mature companies to improve and expand the business.  (Newsday - June 28, 2013)

After suffering during the recession and its aftermath, Woodbury Common is undergoing a makeover. Originally built in 1974 as a small boutique shopping center, the Woodbury (Nassau) complex is now adding gourmet grocer Fresh Market and add SoulCycle, a fitness chain that has inspired a devoted fan base. The center's owner, Kabro Associates, is revamping its layout and boosting its tenant mix to regain the edge it had before the recession.  All of that bodes well for long-term tenants like Tallulah, an upscale women's clothing shop that has been at the center for 19 years.  (Newsday - June 26, 2013)

After closing down this spring, the Robeks smoothie franchise in Plainview (Nassau) reopened last week under new ownership.  Katrina Bickford, a Robeks regional director, said the company is "on the hunt" for franchisees to add 10 more stores on Long Island within the next five years.  The company is exhibiting at this week's International Franchise Expo at the Javits Center in New York City.  (LI Business News - June 25, 2013)

Island Companies has entered into contract to add three buildings to its portfolio at the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) in Suffolk County for a new die cast metal stud-manufacturing subsidiary.  The buildings - two of 22,500 square feet and a third measuring 27,500 square feet - sit on 11 acres.  Island Companies will create a subsidiary, Island Green Steel, to manufacture metal studs from rolls of steel at the site.  Another Island Companies subsidiary, Island International Exterior Fabricators - as well as other local building supply companies - use metal studs in the production of walls for the construction of prefabricated buildings.  The company projects creating 35 jobs by the second year.  Island Companies is already based at EPCAL, occupying more than 250,000 square feet of space.  (LI Business News - June 24, 2013)

Long Island Compost has agreed to build a $50 million enclosed anaerobic digester - the first of its kind in the New York metropolitan area - after 19 months of mediation involving Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Brookhaven Community Coalition, Long Island Compost and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  Charles Vigliotti, president and CEO of Long Island Compost's parent company, Great Gardens, said the digester will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2014, pending regulatory approval from the Town of Brookhaven and the DEC.  The company's transition from the turned windrow method of composting to its anaerobic digester will provide enough electricity to run its 62-acre Yaphank facility and will also produce compressed natural gas to power the company's fleet of trucks.  Vigliotti said the transition to anaerobic digestion will likely lead to increases in hiring at Long Island Compost, which currently employs about 170 people. He was unsure of how many additional employees the company might add.  (LI Business News - June 24, 2013)

(Update) Discount retail giant Walmart will open one of its smaller, grocery-only stores in Levittown (Nassau) on July 10.  The company is also building a 60,000-square-foot addition to the 120,000-square-foot store it has in Valley Stream (Nassau), which will offer a full-range of groceries. That expansion should be completed in October.  The Valley Stream store will add between 60 and 90 new employees, as will the new Neighborhood Market in Levittown.  (LI Business News - June 24, 2013)

Long Island MacArthur Airport will soon have a commercial radio station, Islip Town officials said.  The town board also approved airport maintenance and improvement resolutions at its meeting. The board voted to authorize a $30,000 contract with Holbrook-based Savik & Murray, LLP to remove trees from around runaways.  They also approved a pair of resolutions to hire JKL Engineering of Maryland to design a new airfield electrical vault at the airport, expected to cost $312,791, and to design three taxiways for $319,279.  (Newsday - June 24, 2013)

A new high school focused on science and engineering is teaming up with two Long Island research powerhouses to provide students with mentors and equipment to help pursue their studies.  The Doshi STEM Program school, scheduled to open in September in Syosset, will allow students access to experts from Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, officials said. The program also is partnering with the Long Island Matrix of Science and Technology, or LIMSAT, an education group that will design and develop its curriculum.  The program will be run by Nassau BOCES.   The program will have its own wing at the Long Island High School of the Arts and will serve 50 freshmen when it opens. Twenty-five students already have been admitted.  The program so far has drawn students from Baldwin, Hicksville, Malverne, Oyster Bay and Uniondale (all Nassau), and its reach is expected to grow.  (Newsday - June 23, 2013)

Town of Babylon (Suffolk) officials are finalizing a pitch to developers for a transit-oriented, mixed-use project that would center on a reopened Republic Station of the Long Island Rail Road.  The project, planned for 20 acres once used by former aviation giant Fairchild Republic, would adjoin - and possibly incorporate - 75 acres of existing retail near Republic Airport at Route 110 and Conklin Street.  The redevelopment plan, which has been discussed for a dozen years, has received a recent boost from the LIRR's plan to open a second track between the busy Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma stations.  The town expects to release its request for proposals later this summer.  Any future developer would likely qualify for incentives from the Babylon Industrial Development Agency.  (LI Business News - June 21, 2013)

Last month, the Islip Town board (Suffolk) accepted the final environmental impact statement for the Serota Properties-owned development, a complex planned at Veterans Memorial Highway and Sunrise Highway that would host housing, retail, industrial and entertainment uses.  Because of the project's size and regional significance, it was referred to the county planning commission.  The revamped plan for Islip Pines includes fewer square feet of retail and more green space.  Though the proposal has been transformed, nearby civic associations and chambers of commerce from areas such as Holbrook, Sayville and Bayport vehemently oppose the plan, fearing its two big box stores and 339,000 square feet of retail will kill their downtowns.  The parcel is zoned industrial and requires a change of zone from the town board. Islip Planning Commissioner Dave Genaway said 50 percent of the project would be permissible under current zoning, but he said that while the updated plan is an improvement on its previous version, if asked to opine on the project for the town board today, he would recommend denying approval. (Newsday - June 21, 2013)

Long Island will get two new video-slot machine parlors -- even if a statewide referendum to allow casinos across New York fails this fall -- under a gambling-expansion agreement announced by lawmakers June 19.  No matter the fate of the casino vote, Nassau and Suffolk counties still would be able to open one video-slot facility apiece.  Each would have a maximum of 1,000 of the machines, known as video lottery terminals or VLTs.  Off-track betting corporations in Nassau and Suffolk counties would operate the video slot machine centers, officials said. Nassau OTB has indicated its preferred location is its Race Palace in Plainview.  Suffolk didn't immediately indicate a site preference.  An anti-gambling group blasted the deal, saying that the guarantee to add video slot machines, even if the casino vote loses, essentially takes away the public's ability to say "no" to gambling.  (Newsday - June 20, 2013)

Urban Outfitters' third Long Island store is scheduled to open its doors in August at the Walt Whitman mall in Melville (Suffolk).  The new Urban Outfitters store is one of as many as 30 mostly upscale new shops opening at the newly renovated Walt Whitman mall, now called the Walt Whitman Shops.  (Newsday - June 18, 2013)

The 12,000-square-foot Long Island Chocolate Works factory opened in Valley Stream (Nassau) in 2008.  The first Long Island Chocolate Works franchise is set to open in Commack (Suffolk) before summer's end, with others planned for Manhasset (Nassau), Brooklyn and Livingston, N.J.  All-in, a Chocolate Works franchise runs between $285,000 and $465,000, depending on size and location. The chain targets retail spaces in the 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot range. In addition to an initial franchise fee of $50,000, the company charges 4 percent of revenues for royalties and another $300 a month for an advertising fund.  (LI Business News - June 17, 2013)

The Suffolk County Legislature has approved a plan to consolidate two health centers and create a single, larger site. Suffolk plans to close its East Hampton Health Center and a second in Southampton as it opens a new, expanded center on the campus of Southampton Hospital next January.  The $2.2 construction project is funded with a state HEAL grant and $700,000 from Southampton Hospital.  It is a partnership between the hospital, Stony Brook University Medical Center, the Suffolk County Department of Health and Hudson River Health Care.  Although the county is consolidating two sites, the new, larger site in Southampton will include more staff, services and expanded hours. No staff are being let go from existing centers. The new practice will hire 20 to 23 additional people.  (LI Business News - June 17, 2013)

A+ Technology and Security Solutions, a Bay Shore (Suffolk)-based surveillance systems company, unveiled a new security command center at its headquarters on June 14.  The "global fusion center" will provide round-the-clock surveillance and security verification services for commercial, government and school clients. The company, financed in part by the investment firm Westbury Partners, plans to add 18 employees to its staff of 45 over six months. A+ will be recruiting ex-military and retired or off-duty police officers to monitor a network of cameras and sensors from Bay Shore and a fleet of vans.  (Newsday - June 15, 2013)

Previously Reported

The Long Island Brain Tumor Center at Neurological Surgery has opened its third and largest center in Lake Success (Nassau).  Staffed by two neurosurgeons and two neuro-oncologists, the center is part of Neurological Surgery, P.C. which treats a wide range of neurological issues, including cancer.  In addition to the Lake Success facility, the Long Island Brain Tumor Center has additional locations in Rockville Centre (Nassau) and Commack (Suffolk).  The center employs 15 and Neurological Surgery, P.C. employs about 150, making it one of the largest medical practices in the region.  (LI Business News - June 14, 2013) 

Southampton Hospital has opened its fourth laboratory located outside the main facility, in Suite 104 at 518 Montauk Highway in Amagansett (Suffolk).  The hospital already operates labs in Southampton, East Hampton and Hampton Bays among 22 satellite facilities on Long Island's East End.  Patients at satellite labs provide samples that are tested at the hospital's main laboratory or sent out to more specialized facilities. (LI Business News - June 12, 2013)

Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine is doubling its space with a new 65,000-square-foot building, two years after enrolling its first class.  The medical school, currently housed in a renovated building once used as a New York Jets football training facility, will construct the two-story building on the adjacent field. The two buildings will connect through an atrium.  The first floor will feature a 241-person auditorium, a 7,000-square-foot lab, a multipurpose room and event space for medical conferences. The second floor will include 12 small-group classrooms, a dean's suite, a faculty suite and offices.  The medical school -- which began in 2011 with a founding class of 40 -- has grown to 180 students for the 2013-14 academic year. For the class beginning in August, the school received 5,500 applications for 80 spots. The classes eventually are to be capped at 100 students.  The school, a partnership between Hofstra and the North Shore-LIJ Health System, emphasizes small group learning instead of lectures and hands-on learning rather than memorization. It requires each first-year student to become an emergency medical technician.  The project's estimated cost is $35.9 million, $14.5 million of which is provided through $25 million in New York State Economic State Development Corp. grants secured by Hofstra in 2008. The building is expected to be completed by January 2015, Smith said.  The $21.4-million balance for the new construction will be financed through bonds issued by the Town of Hempstead Local Development Corp ., university officials said.  (Newsday - June 12, 2013) 

(Update) Tritec Real Estate has acquired the first parcel for the Ronkonkoma (Suffolk) Hub project at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Mill Street.  The $350 million development, which might be linked to Long Island MacArthur Airport, is planned for 50 acres surrounding the Long Island Rail Road station in Brookhaven and Islip towns.  Advocates tout the mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development as having the potential to transform the region and turn the Ronkonkoma train station into an entertainment and nightlife destination.  Commercial buildings will have an average height of three stories, with retail concentrated along Railroad Avenue, while residential buildings will be three or four stories, with spaces for rental, owner-occupied and assisted-living apartments, according to the developers.  (Newsday - June 12, 2013) 

(Update) The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency on June 11 endorsed a multimillion-dollar retail and housing development plan in Farmingdale (Nassau) that advocates say will revitalize the area's downtown.  The approved plan gives Bartone Properties of Farmingdale, 20 years' worth of tax breaks for a $38 million transit-oriented, mixed-use development project.  The developers will make payments in lieu of taxes starting with $201,000 in the first year and increasing to about $1.9 million by the 20th year.  Bartone Properties, in a partnership with TDI, of Irving, Texas, will develop two complexes -- one across the street from, another adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road Station in Farmingdale. The larger one contains 115 apartments and 13,200 square feet of retail space; across the street the plan calls for a mixed-use building calls for 6,200 square feet of retail space and 39 apartments.  Bartone has said construction will begin in the next two months and take 18 months to complete. It is expected to add at least 100 construction jobs and 10 full-time jobs, mostly retail positions.  (Newsday - June 12, 2013) 

Two international airlines have expressed interest in Long Island MacArthur Airportin Ronkonkoma (Suffolk), if it was approved for flights in and out of the country. The airlines, Interjet and FlyA, represent just two new airlines that could economically benefit the area if MacArthur was approved for international flights. The Department of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol was asked to work with MacArthur to develop, execute and approve a plan that would allow flights from certain destinations to land at MacArthur. Such a plan would require customs facilities and personnel before it could be enacted. As for the two international flyers eyeing MacArthur, Mexico City-based Interjet is a low-cost airline that flies to several Central American and Caribbean countries, as well as U.S.-based cities such as Miami and San Antonio, Texas. Interjet began service to John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2012. Meanwhile, FlyA, a new United Kingdom-based low-cost airline, is looking to establish several trans-Atlantic flights. (Newsday – June 11, 2013)

 (Update) Peconic Bay Medical Health Center will soon finish the first building in its ambulatory care center in Manorville (Suffolk). It hopes to finish a 7,000-square-foot structure in July. The facility will be used for primary care, orthopedics, pediatrics and urgent care. Peconic Bay over the next few months expects to begin construction on another 7,000-to-8,000-square foot building at the Manorville site for a digestive disorders center, urology and general surgery. The hospital also is planning a third, 10,000-square-foot building as part of its expansion of ambulatory services on Route 111 south of Exit 70 on the Long Island Expressway. The project is being developed by Parkridge Development , in collaboration with the hospital, which has a 10-year lease with an option to renew. The hospital also is considering a fourth building on the Manorville site that could include such facilities as a fitness center. (LI Business News - June 11, 2013) 

A Joe's Crab Shack restaurant will open on June 18 at 1490 Old Country Road in Riverhead (Suffolk).  (LI Business News - June 10, 2013) 

Garden City (Nassau)-based Seviroli Foods, has entered into a contract to purchase a 25,000-square-foot building at 576 Brook St. in Garden City (Nassau), located almost directly across from the company's 45,000-square-foot headquarters at No. 601.  The manufacturer of frozen pastas will outfit the building for an expansion of the firm's product lines beyond frozen ravioli and tortellini.  About 5,000 square feet will be used for pure R&D. The majority of the new space, 12,000 square feet, will be used to increase production, while the remaining 8,000 square feet will be refitted as office space.  The frozen food producer employs more than 200 on Long Island and plans to add 15 jobs each year for the next five years as part of a benefits package from the Hempstead Industrial Development Agency .  (LI Business News - June 10, 2013) 

Adelphi University launches its new College of Nursing and Public Health on June 10 with plans to expand its course offerings and break ground on a new $60-million building this fall. University officials said the college will prepare ti to meet the future demands of Long Island's health care system, including jobs that could come out of the federal Affordable Care Act and an aging demographic.  The nursing school, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary, has an enrollment of about 1,200. A master's in public health launched last September with 12 students and is growing to nearly 30 in the coming fall semester.  The college also recently added an online master's degree program in nutrition.  The College of Nursing and Public Health's new home -- a three-story building of more than 99,600 square feet, complete with high-tech labs and simulation rooms -- is expected to open in the fall of 2015.  (Newsday - June 10, 2013) 

A 28,000-square-foot Bed Bath & Beyond store in Lawrence (Nassau) damaged by Hurricane Sandy has reopened.  The store at the Bay Harbor Mall on Rockaway Turnpike was totally reconstructed.  (LI Business News - June 6, 2013)  

(Update) The Huntington (Suffolk) Town board on June 5 unanimously approved the development strategy for a section of Huntington Station.  The plan from Plainview (Nassau)-based Renaissance Downtowns calls for recreating a downtown for the area around the Long Island Rail Road station, a stretch along New York Avenue between High Street and 11th Street.  As the town-designated master developer of the area, Renaissance used input from residents, businesses and property owners to create the strategy.  Some of the most popular items on the stakeholders' wish list for the area are a cafe and performance space, restaurants and a green grocer.  (Newsday - June 6, 2013) 

Long Island's first Dairy Queen Grill & Chill is scheduled to open on June 10 at 5366 Sunrise Hwy. in Massapequa (Nassau).  The company has hired 80 people so far and is looking for about 20 more employees.  "We are looking for someone who can smile and engage with the customers," owner Laura Maier said. "We can teach you the rest."  The restaurant, which has seating for 85 as well as a drive-through window, will be open 14 hours a day, seven days a week, she said.  Openings on the staff include hospitality positions working with customers, jobs in the "chill area" making ice cream treats, as well as positions in the grill area.  Maier has plans to open another Dairy Queen location in Nassau County within the year, she said.  (Newsday - June 4, 2013)

An indoor soccer arena will open in a 65,000-square-foot shopping center known as Edwards Plaza in Selden (Suffolk).  The project is eligible for tax breaks from the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency, which formally accepted the proposal on May 15. The new sports arena would create one full-time job and 12 full-time equivalents with annual salaries in the $30,000 to $75,000 range, said Lisa Mulligan, executive director of the Brookhaven IDA.  The Selden project is the latest in a string of sports proposals in Suffolk County. The Brookhaven IDA has also received an application from 495 Holdings to construct a 260,000-square-foot building adjacent to Motorola's Holtsville offices that would house two regulation sports fields and 60,000 square feet of office and retail space.  Another 50,000-square-foot indoor arena is being pitched by MGW Realty of Suffolk, which recently purchased 6.3 acres of vacant land behind the Springwood Suites in Bellport for $1.6 million. The MGW proposal suggests the facility could be used to host youth volleyball and basketball tournaments.  And in Islip, the town board in March approved the sale of 30 acres in Central Islip to Ultimate Game Sports for the construction of a 200,000-square-foot indoor sports complex with a 6,000-seat stadium. UGS purchased the land for $3.5 million and hopes to attract a minor league sports franchise to the site once completed.   (LI Business News - June 3, 2013)

Round three of the LI Regional Economic Development Council 's (LIREDC) funding process will provide up to $760 million in economic development resources to projects located around the state. Of that, $540 million is being slated for the consolidated funding application process. That money comes from 29 programs developed by 13 state agencies. The CFA program, which has funded more than 100 projects in the first two years of competition, will be open to applicants starting at 8 a.m. June 17 through Aug. 12. A full list of guidelines and resources for CFA applicants is available on the regional economic development councils' website. In addition to the CFA funding, $220 million – $150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits – has been set aside as part of the competition for the regions with the best strategic plans and implementation processes. Unlike last year, the third round of funding pits all 10 regions against each other; round two broke it up so that the four winners from round one competed for two best plan awards, while the six runners up of round one competed amongst themselves for three best plan awardees.  (Newsday - June 3, 2013) 

Business Contractions and Closings

New Items

Newsday‘s web-based news operation in the suburbs north of New York City has closed after just over a year.  Parent company Cablevision said June 26 it discontinued the Westchester-based site because of "economic considerations."  The cable giant said it would focus on remaining news products including Newsday and on Long Island and amNewYork in New York City.  Cablevision also owns News 12 cable news stations, including News 12 Westchester, which covers the northern suburbs and had partnered with Newsday Westchester.  Cablevision spokeswoman Kelly McAndrew said all Newsday Westchester employees were losing their jobs.  She would not say how many there were.  The site was launched on April 30, 2012. By late Wednesday afternoon its news stories were gone and viewers were referred to the Newsday and News 12 sites.  (LI Business News - June 27, 2013)

(Update) The State Assembly and Senate early this morning approved Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's bill to reform the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 63-0. The Assembly vote was 103-34 in favor of the bill after a sometimes spirited debate largely along party lines.  The bill would give near total control of the LIPA system to PSEG while reducing LIPA to a skeletal staff and cutting its board to nine trustees from 15. It establishes a new Department of Public Service branch on Long Island and paves the way for refinancing around half of LIPA's $7 billion debt.  (Newsday - June 21, 2013)

(Update) The last patient was moved from Suffolk County's John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank on June 20.  Altogether, 141 workers will lose jobs, but twenty-three employees will remain at Foley through July to finish bookkeeping, cleanup and archiving medical records. (Newsday - June 21, 2013)

Manor East Caterers in Massapequa (Nassau) unexpectedly closed its doors on June 20 due to eviction.  The Newsday article does not mention the plight of the employees.  (Newsday - June 15, 2013)

Previously Reported

(Update) Suffolk County's John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank will close in about a month.  All of the 141 remaining employees will lose their jobs, and the home's residents will be forced to find new accommodations.  (LI Business News - June 4, 2013) 

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