Nassau tax break for assisted-living

Amber Court Assisted Living at 3400 Brush Hollow

Amber Court Assisted Living at 3400 Brush Hollow Rd. has been given Nassau County tax breaks for a 29,400-square-foot addition. The $5-million project will add 13 jobs to the company's workforce of 101 people. (Credit: Steve Pfost, 2004)

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The expansion plan of an assisted-living facility in Westbury has received a boost from Nassau County.

Amber Court Assisted Living Llc last week received tax breaks from the county's industrial development agency for a 29,400-square-foot addition to its complex on 3400 Brush Hollow Rd.

The $5-million project will add 13 jobs to the company's workforce of 101 people.

The two-story building, with 44 beds, will be located on the site of a former catering hall, Tivoli Terrace.

"There is a significant demand in the county for assisted-living facilities," said Joseph J. Kearney, executive director of the development agency. "We estimate this project will save the county $3.7 million in Medicaid costs over 10 years, because there will be fewer people in nursing homes."

The agency has awarded Amber Court a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement on its property tax bill and a $416,156 sales tax break on the purchase of furniture, equipment and fixtures for the new building.

Amber Court employees earn an average of $33,000 per year, including the value of benefits, according to agency records. The company currently cares for about 225 seniors in Westbury.

Co-owner Alfred Schonberger said he and his partners purchased the catering hall in 2000 when they converted a former nursing home into Amber Court. "We revitalized the nursing home," he said. "We changed the community for the better."

Christopher Fusco, an agency director and president of Local 7 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, asked Schonberger at the agency meeting last week where the aid was approved if construction workers building the addition would be paid the prevailing wage rate and receive medical benefits.

Schonberger replied, "Historically, we have used local people when we have bought buildings." Amber Court also has facilities in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Elizabeth, N.J.

The 44-year-old company has proposed to build a complex on seven acres in Nesconset, where a Knights of Columbus hall currently stands. Last year the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency backed the $38.5-million project with $28 million in tax-exempt bond financing. About 186 seniors would live in apartments there.

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