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  • Writer's pictureAndre Watson

Foodmaker ups footprint by 200K sf at former Entenmann’s factory

Water Lilies expanding in Suffolk County; in line for tax breaks

By: TRD Staff

1724 5th Avenue (Loopnet, iStock)

One company is betting on the popularity of its dumplings in the face of rising interest rates and recession fears.

Water Lilies Food is upsizing at a property in Suffolk County’s Bay Shore, increasing its footprint by 200,000 square feet, Newsday reported. The $36.1 million expansion for the Asian food manufacturer will accommodate a 300-person boost in headcount.

The manufacturer is one of several tenants at 1724 Fifth Avenue, the former site of an Entenmann’s factory. The regionally famous bakery operated out of the space for more than 50 years before closing it in 2014; Water Lilies relocated its operations and headquarters there from Astoria in 2020.

The building is owned by Suffolk County Industrial LLC, a private entity that receives a property tax discount from Islip.

Water Lilies plans to add another 80,000 square feet in four years, when another tenant’s lease expires.

The company, which makes and distributes egg rolls and dumplings along with other Asian food, will also retain 20,000 square feet of office space. The initial expansion is expected to take roughly two years.

Water Lilies is hoping to receive tax incentives, which could include a break on property taxes or sales tax on construction materials, from the Islip Town Industrial Development Agency. Such subsidies are sometimes criticized for rewarding actions that a private business would have taken anyway, or as pitting one municipality against another.

In this case, a Water Lilies executive told Newsday that the company chose to grow in place because of the sewer connection and to keep its employees, who would be unlikely to relocate to another state.

“This is a testament to the fact that [manufacturing] is alive and well, especially in the Town of Islip,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter told Newsday about the plan. It was not immediately clear why the town would subsidize such a thriving sector to fill industrial space, which is easier than ever to do.

Long Island’s industrial vacancy rate fell to a new record last year as the pandemic-powered e-commerce boom reshaped the landscape. The market has shown some signs of a future slowdown as Amazon has dialed back its massive warehouse push, but available space is still hard to find.

The IDA passed an inducement resolution this week, a necessary step for the Water Lilies plan, and will hold a public hearing on the expansion.

Holden Walter-Warner

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