The former Entenmann's Bakery plant on Fifth Avenue in Bay...

The former Entenmann's Bakery plant on Fifth Avenue in Bay Shore is shown before it was shut down in 2014. The company that took over part of the plant, Water Lilies Food LLC, is among local companies set receive state business aid to support expansion projects.  Credit: Newsday/Don Jacobsen

Three food companies and a trade school are among the 12 local recipients of $10.7 million in state business aid to support building projects and new jobs, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced.

The largest award — $6 million — went to Water Lilies Food LLC to more than double the amount of space that it rents in the former Entenmann’s bakery on Fifth Avenue in Bay Shore. The company produces spring rolls, dumplings, egg rolls, pot stickers and other Asian appetizers.

The $37 million Water Lilies project is one of 74 across New York State to win grants and/or state tax credits through the annual Regional Economic Development Councils’ competition begun in 2011.

Hochul announced the first group of recipients last week, saying more would be named in the coming months.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • NYS has awarded $10.7 million to 12 building projects and job training programs on Long Island.
  • The grants and tax credits were distributed through the annual Regional Economic Development Councils competition.
  • More awards will be announced in the coming months, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The REDC competition distributes up to $750 million in business aid each year. The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council — a group of business executives, labor leaders, educators and nonprofit officials appointed by the governor — reviews applications for aid and makes funding recommendations to seven state agencies, which then determine the winners. There are 10 councils statewide.

“These projects will grow Long Island’s economy and continue to make the region a place where people will want to live, work and visit for generations to come,” LIREDC co-chairs Linda Armyn, of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, and John Nader, of Farmingdale State College, said in a statement on Friday.

At Water Lilies, CEO Peter Lee said in an interview, “New York is our home, and we are happy to be able to further expand in the Entenmann’s building. The state grant and tax credits will help us tremendously.”

Water Lilies was founded by Lee’s family in New York City in 1995. It moved to Bay Shore in 2020 with help from Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, and the Town of Islip Industrial Development Agency.

Lee said his company will add 160,000 square feet to the 130,000 that it already rents. The additional space will facilitate the introduction of new products and add at least 170 jobs to a workforce that now tops 400 people, he said.

In August, a controlling interest in Water Lilies was purchased by the private equity firm Blue Point Capital Partners in Cleveland from AUA Private Equity Partners in West Palm Beach, Florida. Lee will continue to be a minority shareholder, according to Blue Point Capital.

The second-largest state award — $1 million — went to the Livia Equipment and Rental Networx Center LLC (LEARN Center)  in Ronkonkoma to support its $5 million plan to expand training for truck drivers and operators of bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment.

“There was already a shortage of [truck] drivers and then the federal government [in February] passed a law requiring that you complete a formal training program before taking a road test and obtaining a Commercial Driver License,” said Jon E. Guidi, CFO of the for-profit trade school.

 

Guidi said the expansion project consists of buying an adjacent half-acre lot and additional trucks and heavy equipment for student use. The school’s existing buildings will be renovated as well.

He said the expansion will allow the school to double both its enrollment of 125 students and workforce of 12 people.

Among the other local recipients of state grants and tax credits are Natural Foods Inc. and Martin Sidor Farms Inc.

Natural Foods, based in Forest Hills, Queens, received $975,000 to move its Inwood distribution hub to a 30,000-square-foot building in Freeport. The company sells cheese, eggs, milk and other dairy products in the metropolitan area. Its $10 million project will create 50 jobs.

Martin Sidor, based in Mattituck, won $400,000 to expand production of its North Fork Potato Chips and to open a potato museum. The $2 million project will create five jobs.

JOBS PROJECTS

New York State has awarded $65 million to 74 projects statewide. Long Island's 12 projects, the amount each will receive and their location are:

Expansion by Asian food maker Water Lilies Food, $6 million, Bay Shore

The LEARN Center trade school adds truck driving courses, $1 million, Ronkonkoma

Expansion by dairy products seller Natural Foods, $975,000, Freeport

Life's W.O.R.C. job training center for the disabled, $735,000, Garden City

Natech Plastics' entry into the pharma industry, $672,000, Ronkonkoma

Job training at the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center, $457,000, Bridgehampton

Increase potato chip production, open museum at Martin Sidor Farms, $400,000, Mattituck

Job training at Island Harvest food bank, $134,400, Melville

Expansion of food-service equipment maker P&M LLC, $120,000, Amityville

Factory improvements at Magellan Aerospace, $120,000, West Babylon

Oerlikon Metco machinery purchase, $100,000, Westbury

Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery, $24,500, Southampton

TOTAL: $10,737,900

SOURCE: NYS Governor's Office

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