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Mortgage lender bringing 225 jobs to Uniondale

Cliffco Mortgage in New Cassel. The Nassau County

Cliffco Mortgage in New Cassel. The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency has awarded the firm tax breaks to renovate office space at 70 Charles Lindbergh Blvd. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Nassau County has granted tax breaks to a mortgage lender and landlord to bring 225 jobs to Uniondale in three years, officials said.

The county’s Industrial Development Agency awarded a sales-tax exemption of up to $114,712 to Cliffco Mortgage Bankers last week for the purchase of construction materials, equipment and fixtures to renovate office space at 70 Charles Lindbergh Blvd. The company, now in New Cassel, plans to move there instead of relocating to Suffolk County. 

The IDA also granted a 10-year deal that freezes property taxes for two years at the current level of $545,000, followed by increases of 1.81% in each of the next eight years. Cliffco had requested a 20-year deal.

Cliffco and its president Christopher Clifford are partial owners of the Uniondale building, which once was the headquarters of Fortunoff department stores and part of the old Mitchel Field. They’ve had difficulty in finding tenants for the 93,000-square-foot structure, Clifford said. 

The IDA assistance is contingent on Clifford securing another large tenant.  Health insurer EmblemHealth has promised to bring 125 jobs to the site, he said at last week’s virtual IDA board meeting.

Clifford, responding to a question from IDA board member Timothy Williams, said the Cliffco workforce will eventually total 100, though it’s now less than what it was when he applied for tax breaks last winter.

“We had a layoff due to COVID-19” and the shutdown of nonessential activities including real estate transactions, he said. The provider of traditional mortgages, refinancing and reverse mortgages had 62 employees in February, records show.

Daniel P. Deegan, Cliffco’s real estate attorney, estimated the building improvements for Cliffco and EmblemHealth will cost $3 million.

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