Rockaways chocolatier seeks $10M in Sandy recovery cash

Factory asking for a quarter of federal recovery funds allotted to the entire city
April 16, 2014 03:55PM

A chocolate factory in the Rockaways that only partially reopened after sustaining damage during Hurricane Sandy asked the city for $10 million in aid this week — well beyond the $1 million cap permitted each applicant.

Madelaine Chocolate Company says the cash is needed to repair damaged equipment, some of which must be sent to Europe for repair, and to boost employment. Prior to the storm, the 201,474-square-foot facility at 9803 Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway employed around 400 individuals during peak periods. By the end of March, that number was down to 76.

The fund, meant to aid small businesses, has a $1 million cap for each applicant, so city officials told the Wall Street Journal that $10 million is too much for Madelaine Chocolate Company to ask of the $42 million program.

Scott Wright, Madelaine’s chief administrative officer, countered that $1 million isn’t nearly enough.

“The city was not recognizing that there are companies like Madelain’s out there for whom $1 million is simply insufficient,”  Wright told the Journal. He is, however, also applying for a $1 million loan.

The company put the factory on the market last week to gauge interest for the property, according to the listing with brokerage CBRE. [WSJ]Angela Hunt