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Sysco plans warehouse in Central Islip

The nation's largest food service distributor is coming to Central Islip, bringing 185 new jobs -- with average salaries of about $63,100 -- within two years of starting operations, Islip Town officials say.

Sysco Corp. will spend $75 million to build a 400,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse to serve as a distribution center for Long Island and the metro area.

The company purchased the 45-acre site -- the former Waldbaum's warehouse at 5-10 Boulevard Ave. -- two years ago.

Islip's Industrial Development Agency this month took the first step toward approving $7.3 million in financial assistance for the project.

Permitting is under way, town planner Dave Genaway said, with construction to begin in the coming weeks. Occupancy is slated for 2012.

Using industry estimates, Islip calculates more than 2,000 people could be employed over the construction period alone.

"For the town, this is a win, win, win," Supervisor Phil Nolan said. "Having a large, stable company that could eventually bring 300 union jobs within walkable neighborhoods of Central Islip, with the multiplier effect that will bring for local businesses -- we're delighted this is going ahead."

Sysco project manager Michael Downs, based in Houston, referred questions to company reps who did not return calls for comment.

Sysco guaranteed it will create 185 jobs over the first two years, and in return will receive $7,335,000 in tax breaks, IDA executive director William Mannix said.

During the construction and equipping phase, the project is exempt from state and local sales taxes normally collected for goods and services, about $2.5 million, Mannix said.

Sysco also will receive a property tax abatement of $4.7 million -- a 34 percent reduction -- over a 14-year period, Mannix said.

The town still expects to collect $9.1 million in property tax revenue from Sysco during that time.

Sysco's application for aid includes clawback provisions that enable Islip to terminate its involvement and recover any benefits Sysco has received if it doesn't meet its obligations, town officials said.

Sysco, whose 400,000 customers include restaurants and health care and educational facilities, generated more than $37 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending July 3, 2010, according to its website.

Though there are no guarantees new jobs will go to locals, Sysco's arrival in high-taxed, low-wealth Central Islip would open up a range of positions from entry level warehouse workers to forklift operators, truck drivers and managers, Mannix said.

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