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Estée Lauder chooses Melville site for new $14.5M engineering center

The cosmetics giant picked the Long Island location, which is adjacent to its campus, over sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Estee' Lauder campus at 155 Pinelawn Rd. in

Estee' Lauder campus at 155 Pinelawn Rd. in Melville on March 1. Photo Credit: Newsday / David Trotman-Wilkins

Estée Lauder has selected Melville over several out-of-state sites for a new $14.5 million engineering center, executives said Tuesday.

The cosmetics giant recently signed a lease for the engineering facility at 65 Maxess Rd., which is adjacent to its sprawling production and research campus at the corner of Pinelawn Road and the South Service Road of the Long Island Expressway.

The company declined to disclose the lease terms, but state officials said the lease is for 10 years.

“The engineering innovation that will result from this investment will be infused across our global supply chain, helping us create trends and drive speed-to-market” of products, said Gregory F. Polcer, executive vice president of global supply chain for The Estée Lauder Cos. and a Huntington Station native.

Estée Lauder had considered putting the engineering operation in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, according to its application for tax breaks from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

Company executives said in August there were no plans to shut down the Melville factory and research laboratory but that future growth would be assured if the engineering center were next door, not in another state. Technologies developed at the center will help to maintain the local factory’s competitive position, they said.

Manhattan-based Estée Lauder employs more than 2,500 people in Suffolk and will hire an additional 31 for the engineering center. Another 35 current employees also will work at the center, executives told the IDA.

The new hires will earn, on average, $165,650 per year, according to IDA records.

The building that will house the engineering center is 51,580 square feet and was once used as a U.S. Postal Service warehouse, property records show.

The center will be "initially operational" by Dec. 31, according to a company spokeswoman.

Carl Haney, executive vice president for global R&D, corporate innovation and package development, said Tuesday having the engineering center adjacent to one of Estée Lauder’s largest plants "will help to maximize synergies that will fuel speed and drive engineering innovation to support our brands’ growth."

The decision to expand in Melville came about six weeks after Suffolk offered the company $895,000 in tax breaks over 10 years for the engineering center.

“The new center ensures Estée Lauder's Melville campus will continue to thrive and create well-paying innovation jobs for years to come," IDA board chairwoman Theresa Ward said Tuesday.

The expansion project also is receiving $2.2 million in state tax credits from Empire State Development Corp., the state's primary business-aid agency, and help from the state Energy Research and Development Authority, according to an ESD spokesman.

ESD CEO Howard Zemsky, who grew up in Woodbury, said Estée Lauder is "breathing new life into an existing facility, creating new advanced manufacturing jobs and contributing to a brighter future for Melville and Suffolk County."

Estée Lauder, started in 1946, is a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It reported a profit of $1.1 billion for the year ended June 30 on sales of $13.7 billion.

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