LIREDC 2016: Synthetic leather, wings and prayers

Hangar management: Luminati Aerospace is among the Long Island companies hoping to score through the state's annual Regional Economic Development Council competition.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

With a string of annual victories under its belt, the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council is shooting for the moon, once again.

This week, the LIREDC – co-chaired by Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz and Long Island Association President Kevin Law – recommended 112 distinct projects for tens of millions of dollars in state aid, to be doled out later this year through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual REDC competition.

Don't have a cow: Making leather, the new-fashioned way, at Modern Meadows.

Don’t have a cow: Making leather, the new-fashioned way, at Modern Meadow.

Among the top priorities in the LIREDC’s package is $3 million toward the proposed $19 million Modern Meadow biotech leather lab in Farmingdale, which promises to create 235 permanent jobs within five years. The Brooklyn-based synthetic leather manufacturer, which grows animal-free leather from living cells, closed a $40 million Series B funding round in June and is looking to relocate operations to Farmingdale’s Broad Hollow Bioscience Park.

Also on the LIREDC’s 2016 wish list: $2 million toward Luminati Aerospace’s proposed $80 million expansion at Grumman Aerospace Corp.’s former Calverton facility, which Luminati officials promise will create 210 new jobs.

Other priorities among the regional council’s 100-plus projects include $1.5 million for Great Neck-based Northwell Health’s new $10.2 million medical devices laboratory, with 20 new jobs in the offing, and another $1.5 million toward the creation of Winthrop-University Hospital’s $10 million family health center in Hempstead Village, with 80 new jobs promised.

All told, the LIREDC deemed one-third of the projects on its list – 38 of 112 projects – “regionally significant.”

The Long Island REDC has been one of the most successful of the 10 regional councils since Cuomo initiated the funds competition in 2011, consistently ranked as a “top performer” in the annual contest. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 400 Island projects earned better than $424 million in state support, including 121 projects receiving some $98.3 million in the 2015 competition.

That 2015 haul included a $3 million award to Nassau County for design and construction efforts at the 77-acre Nassau Hub site and $2.25 million for an effort by Farmingdale State College, private biotech Codagenix Inc. and other partners to establish a state-of-the-art biotech research consortium.

Also include in the 2015 LIREDC awards was $1.8 million for Brookhaven Science Associates – a partnership between the Research Foundation for the State University of New York and nonprofit R&D organization Battelle, known primarily for managing Brookhaven National Laboratory –  to create a public-private research hub for scientific innovation and economic development in the Town of Brookhaven.

The largest individual award in the LIREDC’s 2015 basket went to the Town of Islip, which received $3 million to put towards the creation of a Federal Inspection Station that will allow international flights to land at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

The 2015 package also earmarked $8.7 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for jobs-creating Long Island business investments and $45.5 million in “low-cost economic development financing” to allow state and local government issuers to sell tax-exempt bonds for eligible Island-based economic development, infrastructure improvement and community-revitalization efforts.

With up to $750 million in Empire State Development funding up for grabs, winners of the 2016 REDC competition will be announced in December.