The Hempstead Town Local Development Corp. on Thursday granted preliminary approval to $42 million of tax-exempt bonds for Hofstra University’s construction of a new business school building, renovations and maintenance projects.

The university was also given preliminary approval to refinance $19 million of bonds that were issued in 2007 for lower interest rates.

The development corporation, which provides low-interest, tax-exempt bonds to nonprofits, is to schedule a public hearing on the bonds before it can vote on final approval. Three of the agency’s six members present Thursday are alumni of the university.

“I can’t think of a more noble cause” than helping Hofstra get tax-exempt bonds, said agency chairman and Hofstra graduate Arthur Nastre. He noted that he, William Hendrick and John Ferretti Jr. are alumni.

“So that didn’t hurt. Only kidding,” he joked.

Hofstra officials plan to soon break ground on the 52,000-square-foot Frank G. Zarb School of Business building, using funds from the $42 million in new bonds, Hofstra spokeswoman Karla Schuster said. She did not have a date when construction would begin.

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The new building, which development corporation documents report would be worth about $30.6 million, will abut the C.V. Starr building and replace Weller Hall at the Hempstead campus. The site is currently a parking lot.

Catherine Hennessy, the university’s vice president for financial affairs and treasurer, told the IDA that the new building will help the school in its “continuining competitiveness” in higher education.

It will be a four-floor building that house offices, business laboratories and student study areas, according to Joseph Barkwill, vice president of facilities and operations. It will be connected by a second-floor bridge to C.V. Starr Hall.

In 2007, Hofstra received $25 million from bond sales with interest rates between 4.3 and 5 percent, development corporation officials said. Officials want to refinance the remaining $19 million balance; the projects those bonds funded have already been completed.