The former Entenmann’s building in Bay Shore is now occupied...

The former Entenmann’s building in Bay Shore is now occupied by tenants including Asian food distributor Water Lilies Food LLC, which will lease an additional 200,000 square feet at the facility. Credit: John Roca

A manufacturer and distributor of Asian food plans to add 300 jobs as part of a $36.1 million expansion at the former Entenmann’s bakery in Bay Shore, a company official said. 

Water Lilies Food LLC will increase its staff to more than 700, including temporary workers, and expand its size by leasing 200,000 square feet of space, CEO Peter Lee told Newsday. In four years, when a current tenant vacates, the company plans to lease an additional 80,000 square feet, Lee said. 

The Islip Town Industrial Development Agency Board on Tuesday passed an inducement resolution, the first step in moving the project forward, economic development division director John Walser told Newsday. A public hearing will be held later, he said, adding an authorizing resolution must be approved by the IDA to "close" the deal. 

Lee said he hopes the company will receive IDA tax incentives with the expansion. It's unclear what the IDA could offer, but Walser said a standard benefits package for a project like this could include 12 years of property tax savings and a sales tax exemption on the purchase of construction materials and equipment for improvements to the facility. Water Lilies "indirectly benefits” from previously awarded property tax savings to Suffolk County Industrial LLC, the owner of the building, Walser said. 

Water Lilies, which makes and distributes frozen Asian food including egg rolls, dumplings and pot stickers, relocated its headquarters and distribution operation from Astoria, Queens, to the Bay Shore space in 2020. 

The company had considered moving to Texas, Georgia or New Jersey but settled on Long Island, a better location Lee said, because of the sewer connection, the ability to grow within the space and its convenience for employees. The move retained 90% of the company's workforce, Lee said.

Entenmann's had operated at the Fifth Avenue site since 1961 before it ceased operations in 2014. Nearly 180 jobs were lost when production ended.

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter praised the company’s decision to expand its workforce. 

“If people think that manufacturing is dead on Long Island, it certainly isn’t,” she told Newsday on Friday. “This is a testament to the fact that it is alive and well, especially in the Town of Islip.” 

Lee said the expansion and renovations at the facility should be complete in two years. The company will add a new manufacturing line and has plans to retain 20,000 square feet for future office space. 

A furniture distribution company also leases space there. 

“Anyone in Bay Shore knows the Entenmann’s building, just because of its sheer size and what they did for the town and the economy here,” he said. “We’re hoping that one day we can live up to that.”

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