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Hain -- with tax breaks -- to stay on LI

Irwin Simon, who leads Hain Celestial, will remain

Irwin Simon, who leads Hain Celestial, will remain on Long Island, moving Hain's corporate office from Melville to Lake Success and will open a research and development operation in return for tax breaks from government, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday. (Oct. 5, 2009) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Hain Celestial Group Inc., a high-profile public company, will keep its headquarters on Long Island and add a product development center in return for tax breaks from government, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday.

The maker of Celestial Seasonings teas, Terra Chips, WestSoy beverages and other foods was courted by Colorado and New Jersey, whose governor, Chris Christie, made a personal appeal.

The $10-million project involves moving Hain's corporate office from Melville to Lake Success and opening a research and development operation. The company expects to add 122 people to its local workforce of 250, which will increase payroll expenses by $93 million over 10 years.

Cuomo touts job retention

In exchange for that commitment, Hain will receive $4.5 million in tax credits from New York State, and a sales tax exemption and 16-year property tax break from Nassau County.

"The expansion of Hain Celestial means an industry-leading business and almost 400 jobs will stay right where they belong on Long Island," Cuomo said.

Hain founder and chief executive Irwin D. Simon, noting the company started locally nearly 20 years ago, said the project "will provide us with a nurturing environment to foster the next level of growth for the company. Our new in-house research and development capability will create products that will be sold all over the world."

Simon has served on the state Council on Food Policy since being appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Hain reported profits of $55 million last year on sales of $1.1 billion, making it Long Island's ninth largest public company by sales. It has about 4,000 employees worldwide.

The prospect of losing the Hain headquarters led Nassau Executive Edward Mangano to pursue the deal. "I led the charge to keep Hain . . . as it was vital that we not lose their jobs to any other states," he said.

Site has international flair

Hain will rent 86,104 square feet on four floors of 1111 Marcus Ave. in Lake Success, once home to the United Nations -- a history that appealed to Simon as Hain pursues international business, according to Hain spokeswoman Mary Celeste Anthes.

The company now rents 35,000 square feet at 58 South Service Rd. in Melville, where its lease expires this year. (Ryan tax services and real estate brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank were among Hain's representatives in deal negotiations.)

Nassau's industrial development agency is expected on May 23 to approve a sales tax exemption, valued between $300,000 and $900,000, on the purchase of furniture, equipment and fixtures by Hain. IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said Hain also would have its property taxes frozen for 16 years.

Cuomo's economic development czar Kenneth Adams and Empire State Development Corp. regional director Andrea Lohneiss assembled the state incentive package.

They met Hain executives at a Whole Foods store in Manhattan to see Hain's products such as The Greek Gods yogurt, Earth's Best Organic baby food, Imagine soup and Jason personal care products.

Adams said the company's "investment in Nassau County will create and retain hundreds of new jobs while ensuring New York remains a leader with natural and organic products manufacturing."

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