North Hills luxe condo breaks ground

RXR Realty president Michael Maturo, left, and RXR RXR Realty president Michael Maturo, left, and RXR chief executive and chairman Scott Rechler on March 20, 2014, at the future site of luxury condominiums in North Hills. Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

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A long-delayed 244-unit luxury condominium community in North Hills is set to take a symbolic step forward Monday, when builders hold a ceremonial groundbreaking.

More than half the homes in the $300 million Ritz-Carlton Residences at North Hills are expected to open in late 2015.

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RXR Realty bought the 17-acre site in 2007, but the project stalled when the housing market crashed.

Now the timing is right, said Scott Rechler, chairman and chief executive of Uniondale-based RXR. The Long Island housing market appears to be on the upswing, and in the last month some 60 people have expressed interest in buying the condominiums, he said.

The demand for condominiums has risen. In the last three months of 2013, 959 condominiums were sold on Long Island, a year-over-year jump of 35 percent, according to a report by the appraisal firm Miller Samuel and the brokerage Douglas Elliman.

Long Island has a large population of people who are retiring and hoping to downsize, and there has been little new construction of high-end condominiums in the last decade, Rechler said.

The units are being marketed to retirees and affluent professionals seeking "a simpler way of life without having to give up any of the aspects of having a high-quality home," Rechler said.

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The first phase of construction will include 124 units in two residential buildings and a 25,000-square-foot clubhouse. Prices are expected to range from $1.2 million to $5 million for the two- to four-bedroom homes, which will vary between 1,500 and 4,300 square feet.

Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty will handle sales.

The remaining 120 units in three buildings are expected to open within four years. The site is north of the Northern State Parkway, off New Hyde Park Road.

Last year, RXR sought approval to convert the first phase of the project to rental units. The village of North Hills eventually granted approval for 60 "rent to own" units.

RXR sought approval for rentals because financing for condominiums was so difficult, but the condominium sales market appears to have improved, and RXR expects strong sales, Rechler said.

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The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency granted the project sales tax breaks of up to $2.5 million and a mortgage recording tax break of up to $1 million. RXR also has applied for a seven-year property tax abatement for the 60 rental units; under the proposal being discussed, the tax breaks would expire when each unit is sold, according to the development agency. The proposed property tax break could be worth up to $3 million, according to RXR.

Last year, North Hills Mayor Marvin Natiss publicly opposed the tax breaks and the conversion to rentals.

However, Natiss said he was pleased with the deal reached by RXR, village officials and the development agency, since it will bring in jobs and tax revenues. "In order to get the project off the ground and done we compromised," he said.


AT A GLANCE

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WHAT: The Ritz-Carlton Residences at North Hills

NUMBER OF UNITS: 244

PRICE RANGE: $1.2 million to $5 million per unit

SIZE: Two to four bedrooms; 1,500 to 4,300 square feet

COST OF PROJECT: $300 million

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