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Central Islip parcel rezoned for food plant

Islip Town Hall in an undated photo.

Islip Town Hall in an undated photo. Credit: Erin Geismar

The Islip Town Board has rezoned a state-owned parcel in Central Islip to facilitate its sale to a private company that wants to run a food processing and distribution center.

The zoning change, which was unanimously approved by the town board Thursday on recommendation of the Islip planning board, allows Islandia-based Whitsons Culinary Group to begin negotiations with New York State to buy the 12.9-acre property.

Ralph Perna, who is representing Whitsons in the real estate transaction, said the zoning change from PPD Municipal to PPD Industrial/Warehouse will allow the state to seek appraisals of the parcel at Eastview and Courthouse drives.

The parcel houses a long-shuttered state-run food distribution facility for the now-closed Central Islip State Hospital.

Whitsons plans to spend at least $15 million to renovate the building.

"We're going through all the processes right now," said Perna, an executive managing director at the international real estate firm of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which has an office in Melville.

Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt said the center would bring 350 jobs.

The state has put the property up for bids in the past, but amid community opposition the town's planning board rejected a proposal in 2011 by a company that wanted to use it as a bakery distribution center.

Bergin Weichbrodt said community leaders support Whitsons' proposal.

"This food distribution company has agreed to work within set hours so they're not running deliveries all night," she said.

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