Tax breaks proposed for Wyandanch Rising
The Babylon Town Industrial Development Agency has scheduled public hearings Tuesday on a plan to give tax breaks to the developer of two apartment buildings in Wyandanch, to assist with the area's redevelopment.
Albanese Organization Inc. of Garden City late next month is due to break ground on two buildings just north of the Long Island Rail Road station in Wyandanch. The buildings -- part of the town's Wyandanch Rising public-private redevelopment project -- are slated to have a combined 176 rental units and more than 37,000 square feet of retail space.
For the retail space in both buildings, the IDA is proposing a 75 percent abatement for the first five years, 50 percent for the next five years and a 25 percent abatement for the remainder of a 15-year deal.
The IDA would give the residential units in the first building a 73.5 percent abatement for 40 years, and for the second building a 69 percent abatement for 30 years.
Tax abatement on residential space is unusual for the IDA, said the agency's CEO, Robert Stricoff, but the abatements are tied to the affordable housing federal tax credits Albanese is receiving for the project. Filling the buildings is important to the area's revitalization, he said, which is expected to significantly improve property values and increase tax revenues for the town.
"It is very important to the IDA that these apartments are built and that the rents are working not only for the developer but for the community," Stricoff said.
The IDA estimates the abatements will save the company more than $22 million. Through a combination of federal tax credits, state subsidies, private capital and debt, Albanese is investing about $73 million in the project, said the company's executive vice president, George Aridas.
Affordable housing accounts for more than half of the units in both buildings, Aridas said, and those rents are tied to the median income for the area. For a one-bedroom affordable housing apartment, the rent is projected to be $955 to $1,154 per month, he said.
Aridas said the rents are capped and can only change when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reassesses the area. Last year, the median income for Suffolk County dropped, he said.
"If there was not an abatement you could not afford to operate the housing at the rents that are tied to the program," he said.
On the retail side, Aridas said keeping rents competitive will help attract the kind of tenants -- local service-oriented businesses -- that will be a good fit for the community, which in turn will invite more businesses to move to the area.
"That's the idea . . . to attract the people who want to be in a developing neighborhood like Wyandanch, who see that as the type of growing community where they want to have a foothold," he said. "Yes, we get the tax benefits to make the first and second buildings work. But that benefit just reverberates out."
The public hearings will be held at 9:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. at the IDA offices at 47 W. Main St. in Babylon Village.