Gov. David A. Paterson told Newsday late Wednesday that Canon Inc. will proceed to build its new headquarters in Melville, eliminating the possibility that the giant imaging company will follow OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. and leave Long Island.
When told that some in the business community questioned whether Canon really would have walked away if the state had not struck a deal to keep the company here, Paterson said inaction was too risky.
"I couldn't take that chance," the governor said. "This is one of the largest jobs projects we've seen on Long Island in a long time."
Paterson said the state Transportation Department has come up with $8 million to add one lane to each of the service roads between exits 48 and 49 on the Long Island Expressway. Canon, which needs the road project to handle the traffic its planned $636-million headquarters will generate, will also receive tax breaks. The company did not return calls seeking comment.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said earlier this summer that the project could be in jeopardy if the state did not come up with some funds.
State officials said Canon, now in Lake Success, will bring 1,100 jobs to Melville, and add another 750 in years to come.
Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone welcomed the news: "This is the No. 1 economic development project in the state. I'm glad he interceded and made this possible."
Expo targets GLBT market
Long Island will play host to a business expo next month, one run by people not often in the commerce spotlight -- gays and lesbians.
The Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Services Network will host its first-ever Business and Life Expo on the Island, where companies will be able to market their goods and services exclusively to the GLBT community.
About 48 companies have signed up for the expo, to be held Sept. 13 at the Long Island Holiday Inn in Ronkonkoma, said David Kilmnick, chief executive of the GLBT Services Network. A similar expo has been held at Manhattan's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Kilmnick said such an event was needed here.
Herbee Dodge Chrysler Jeep in West Islip liked the idea, said salesman T.J. Lusardi. "This is a whole new world of people to market to," he said. Suffolk County National Bank also signed on. "When they approached me, I was absolutely all for it," said Sayville branch manager Pam Werner.
"The more we do these expos, the more that's going to change the culture of business on Long Island," Kilmnick said.
The business world has changed for the GLBT community, but not totally. "I went to get a mortgage, and they said, 'Where's your wife?' " Kilmnick said.
Homeland security project
Some important business deals are getting done, even in the dog days of August. In the cool of the American Airpower Museum's cavernous hangar at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale one night last week, a group of Quebec business leaders signed an agreement with leaders of a new research facility for homeland security projects in Bethpage.
French and American (well, Long Guyland anyway) accents mixed over soft drinks as the business leaders from both sides of the border explained that the agreement between two Quebec organizations -- The Computer Research Institute of Montreal and Technopole Defense and Security -- and the Applied Science Center for Innovation and Excellence in Homeland Security Research Foundation Corp. in Bethpage, could lead to work for Quebec and Island companies.
The deal was arranged by the Long Island Forum for Technology. LIFT deputy executive director Ray Donnelly said the companies might work on border security.
Quebec delegate general Robert Keating said business associations are often in a better position than companies to look for projects. Donnelly gained experience with Canadian companies when he was a young salesman for the telecom giant Ericsson.
"The role of all three organizations is to make this happen," Donnelly said.