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IStar erred with meeting announcement, Long Beach officials say

On Jan. 1, 2016, a jogger runs where

On Jan. 1, 2016, a jogger runs where the Long Beach Superblock is proposed, between Long Beach and Riverside Boulevard. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

A Manhattan developer has been circulating a flier touting a public hearing at city hall this week about the controversial Superblock development, but Nassau County and Long Beach officials say they have planned no such meeting.

The Manhattan-based developer IStar Corp. and its new partner, Plainview-based construction company E.W. Howell, circulated a flier through the community last month promoting the development and a Jan. 6 hearing at Long Beach City Hall.

IStar’s initial proposal to add two 17-story luxury apartment buildings on vacant land overlooking the Long Beach boardwalk stalled in September after the county Industrial Development Agency rejected its request for a 25-year, $128.6 million tax-exempt application.

Developers produced the informational flier last month, dated December 2015, promising “$73.9 million in spending power from new residents.” The notice also promises to pay $101.8 million in taxes during the next 30 years – “$82.9 million more than if it remains undeveloped as it has for the past 30 years.”

“Bottom Line: the Superblock project is a positive addition to the City of Long Beach with economic benefits that far outweigh the perceived costs,” the literature states.

“We hope residents and business owners of Long Beach will see the important benefits this project brings to the community and come out in support on Wednesday night, Jan. 6 at City Hall.”

The flier is credited to IStar Vice President Karl Frey, E.W. Howell Vice President Paul O’Rourke, and Nassau and Suffolk AFL-CIO President Richard O’Kane.

Developers did not return multiple calls for comment. Former partner Melville-based AvalonBay Communities has left the project.

The project would have to be submitted and approved by the county IDA, whose officials said there has been no agreement on a revised application.

“There is no meeting scheduled, and when it is scheduled, the public will get appropriate notice,” county IDA Chairman Joseph Kearney said. “The original application has been scrapped. We informed them and the public we were not going to proceed for the financial relief as requested.”

Long Beach officials were not aware of any meeting set at city hall. The City Council endorsed IStar developing the project, but council members remained neutral on the proposed 25-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, because it may expose the council to liability if the project is rejected by the IDA.

Long Beach is also poised to receive a $4 million developer community benefit payment for infrastructure improvements once the first tower is built.

IStar officials have said they plan to invest $300 million to build 522 luxury apartments in two 15-story towers, with two stories of parking and 11,000 square feet of retail space at the boardwalk level. Developers said the project could not be built or made financially viable without the county’s tax relief.

Hundreds of residents attended a public hearing in May opposed to giving developers tax breaks for Long Beach. A similar application for a 20-year PILOT was not approved.

Kearney said attorneys for IStar could submit a revised application later this year.

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