The Nassau County IDA unanimously granted more benefits to the...

The Nassau County IDA unanimously granted more benefits to the Harborside retirement community in Port Washington. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Harborside retirement community in Port Washington moved one step closer to exiting bankruptcy court with a new owner last week, when Nassau County agreed to provide 20 more years of property tax breaks.

The board of directors of the county’s Industrial Development Agency voted unanimously to grant another financial lifeline to the former Amsterdam at Harborside, which has gone bankrupt three times in 10 years.

Officials said the IDA's decision was supported by Harborside residents whose average age is 90. Some have feared the facility would close, officials said.

In an email to the IDA, Vince LaManna said the Harborside's financial woes had caused his 90-year-old mother, her family and fellow Harborside residents “much distress.” The prospect of the facility's sale not being finalized “and the residents losing their homes and their nest eggs would be devastating,” he wrote.

Prospective residents often sell their homes to pay the Harborside's entrance fee, which is determined by the size of the apartment. A portion of the entrance fee is supposed to be refunded after the resident dies. Refund obligations for current and deceased residents total more than $90 million, according to court documents.

IDA chairman William Rockensies said the agency acted to remove the financial instability that had plagued the Harborside since it opened in 2010.

“Hopefully, everyone can move forward now from this [bankruptcy], and hopefully it’ll work out,” he said after the 5-0 vote Thursday night.

Daniel P. Deegan, a real estate attorney for the property’s would-be owner Life Care Services Communities, responded, “Yes, we have confidence that it will.”

Besides the property tax savings, the new aid package consists of a sales tax exemption of up to $252,281 on the purchase of equipment, fixtures and furnishings, plus $740,530 off the mortgage recording tax.

The Harborside began receiving IDA assistance in 2007, when bonds were issued for construction of the complex at 300 East Overlook. Since then, the current owner has saved a total of more than $32 million off property taxes, according to state records.

Still, the Harborside has struggled to fill its 329 units and now has a 50% vacancy rate that has led to “tremendous operating losses,” Deegan said, adding the facility’s future would be dire if the LCS purchase isn’t finalized.

Iowa-based LCS is the nation’s third-largest manager of retirement communities. It won a bankruptcy court auction to buy the Harborside in December.

LCS has proposed a $101 million deal that calls for $10 million in upgrades. The company also would honor resident-refund obligations and pay off the IDA bonds.

The deal “would hopefully put [the Harborside] on a firm footing once and for all and really set the stage for a much better life for the residents,” Deegan said. “But we need this IDA’s help to approve this transaction and then to get the [state] Department of Health to approve” the sale of the Harborside.

In return for the additional help, LCS has pledged to add 54 jobs to the Harborside’s workforce of 80 people over three years. Most of the new jobs would pay between $36,000 and $98,000 per year, according to the application for IDA aid.

“LCS is pleased with the outcome of the approval from the Nassau County IDA,” company spokeswoman Traci McBee said Friday. “This decision moves us forward, and we will continue our focus on the regulatory approval process needed to close the transaction later this summer.”

LCS plans to convert the nonprofit Harborside to a for-profit business. But the status change “will not impact existing or future residents … the community will continue to operate as a Continuing Care Retirement Community with the full continuum of care — independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing,” McBee told Newsday.

The Harborside is among four CCRC's on Long Island. The newest — Fountaingate Gardens in Commack — opened in 2022 and is affiliated with the nearby Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

The Harborside retirement community in Port Washington moved one step closer to exiting bankruptcy court with a new owner last week, when Nassau County agreed to provide 20 more years of property tax breaks.

The board of directors of the county’s Industrial Development Agency voted unanimously to grant another financial lifeline to the former Amsterdam at Harborside, which has gone bankrupt three times in 10 years.

Officials said the IDA's decision was supported by Harborside residents whose average age is 90. Some have feared the facility would close, officials said.

In an email to the IDA, Vince LaManna said the Harborside's financial woes had caused his 90-year-old mother, her family and fellow Harborside residents “much distress.” The prospect of the facility's sale not being finalized “and the residents losing their homes and their nest eggs would be devastating,” he wrote.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • The Harborside retirement community in Port Washington will receive another 20 years of property tax breaks as part of a sale to Life Care Services Communities.
  • The facility has filed for bankruptcy three times in the past 10 years.
  • LCS won a bankruptcy court auction in December for the Harborside and has pledged to make upgrades to the building and honor resident-refund obligations.

Prospective residents often sell their homes to pay the Harborside's entrance fee, which is determined by the size of the apartment. A portion of the entrance fee is supposed to be refunded after the resident dies. Refund obligations for current and deceased residents total more than $90 million, according to court documents.

IDA chairman William Rockensies said the agency acted to remove the financial instability that had plagued the Harborside since it opened in 2010.

“Hopefully, everyone can move forward now from this [bankruptcy], and hopefully it’ll work out,” he said after the 5-0 vote Thursday night.

Daniel P. Deegan, a real estate attorney for the property’s would-be owner Life Care Services Communities, responded, “Yes, we have confidence that it will.”

Besides the property tax savings, the new aid package consists of a sales tax exemption of up to $252,281 on the purchase of equipment, fixtures and furnishings, plus $740,530 off the mortgage recording tax.

The Harborside began receiving IDA assistance in 2007, when bonds were issued for construction of the complex at 300 East Overlook. Since then, the current owner has saved a total of more than $32 million off property taxes, according to state records.

Still, the Harborside has struggled to fill its 329 units and now has a 50% vacancy rate that has led to “tremendous operating losses,” Deegan said, adding the facility’s future would be dire if the LCS purchase isn’t finalized.

Iowa-based LCS is the nation’s third-largest manager of retirement communities. It won a bankruptcy court auction to buy the Harborside in December.

LCS has proposed a $101 million deal that calls for $10 million in upgrades. The company also would honor resident-refund obligations and pay off the IDA bonds.

The deal “would hopefully put [the Harborside] on a firm footing once and for all and really set the stage for a much better life for the residents,” Deegan said. “But we need this IDA’s help to approve this transaction and then to get the [state] Department of Health to approve” the sale of the Harborside.

In return for the additional help, LCS has pledged to add 54 jobs to the Harborside’s workforce of 80 people over three years. Most of the new jobs would pay between $36,000 and $98,000 per year, according to the application for IDA aid.

“LCS is pleased with the outcome of the approval from the Nassau County IDA,” company spokeswoman Traci McBee said Friday. “This decision moves us forward, and we will continue our focus on the regulatory approval process needed to close the transaction later this summer.”

LCS plans to convert the nonprofit Harborside to a for-profit business. But the status change “will not impact existing or future residents … the community will continue to operate as a Continuing Care Retirement Community with the full continuum of care — independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing,” McBee told Newsday.

The Harborside is among four CCRC's on Long Island. The newest — Fountaingate Gardens in Commack — opened in 2022 and is affiliated with the nearby Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

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