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Thermo King's cool move to E. Farmingdale

Thermo King of Long Island, which makes and repairs refrigeration and air conditioning units for food trucks and other vehicles, will hold a grand opening Friday at its new East Farmingdale location -- a site the FBI searched for bodies in 2008.

The move from Amityville lets the business expand; instead of mobile service trucks going to clients' sites, the company now has about two acres of land so tractor trailers will have room to turn around.

"It took us years to find vacant land that wasn't out east," said company vice president Denise Rudnick, who runs the franchise with her husband and company president, Michael Rudnick.

The Rudnicks bought the property years ago but were uncertain about expanding the business. Corporate officials from Thermo King had pressured them to decide, Michael Rudnick said, and the morning he asked for guidance from God, his wife called to say the FBI was digging up their property and other sites in the industrial area of East Farmingdale.

Rudnick went over and gave the FBI site director permission to dig down five feet. But of course he was told the FBI didn't need permission. Eventually, but not on Rudnicks' land, investigators unearthed the body of Colombo crime family underboss William Cutolo, who had disappeared in 1999, an apparent victim in a war for control of the family in the 1990s.

The digging gave the couple time, but what saved them money was the delay in construction. By the time Thermo King was ready to build its 12,500-square-foot garage last year, the economy had tanked, China had stopped gobbling up the steel supply and contractors and suppliers were ready to do business at cost, Michael Rudnick said.

"I saved a million bucks," he said. "I'm blessed. This is definitely something from above."

The couple is trying to get the $1.6-million garage a Silver LEED certification, the third-highest award from the U.S. Green Building Council. The garage has plenty of recycled materials, as well as lights and faucets that automatically turn on and off.

To keep the franchise in town, Babylon Town's Industrial Development Agency offered perks including no tax on equipment and decor purchases for two years.

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