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Proposed Mineola apartment building wins tax breaks

This building with a Citibank branch, at 199

This building with a Citibank branch, at 199 Second St. in Mineola, is to be demolished to make way for a 266-unit apartment building. The photo is from Sept. 8, 2015. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A planned 266-unit apartment building in downtown Mineola has won approval for tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

The $77 million development will include one- and two-bedroom units as well as a lawn, fountains, a restaurant and underground parking, according to the developer, Lake Success-based Lalezarian Properties. It will be located on Second Street, near the village's Long Island Rail Road station.

Rents will start in the mid-$2,000s, said Kevin Lalezarian, a principal with the developer. One-tenth of the apartments will be designated as "affordable," with reduced rents for those earning up to 80 percent of the median income on Long Island.

The complex will be occupied by people who "don't want to have home ownership, but do want to have a high-quality residence -- really a mix of empty-nesters and young professionals," he said in an interview earlier this year. Construction is expected to begin in February and take 21 months, according to the IDA.

The agreement unanimously approved by the IDA Monday freezes current property taxes for five years and then gradually increases them, for a total of $9.1 million over 20 years.

The builder also received exemptions of up to $725,000 on mortgage recording tax and up to $3 million on sales tax.

The developer has promised to create 160 construction jobs for two years, as well as 18 permanent jobs that will pay, on average, $16 per hour.

IDA board member Christopher Fusco, a member of the carpenters' union, asked if the builder will guarantee prevailing wages for construction workers.

Lalezarian said he has met with Richard O'Kane, president of the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council. "We are happy to meet and discuss it with them," Lalezarian said.

O'Kane, who attended the IDA meeting, said he had hoped "we would have reached an agreement before" Monday.

Later, IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said unionized construction companies will be able to bid on the work.

Lalezarian said 90 percent of construction workers will come from Long Island.

Timothy Williams, IDA chairman, warned Lalezarian that if the developer fails to fulfill its commitments, the IDA would "claw back" the tax benefits.

The Lalezarian-owned land is now the site of a Citibank branch that will be demolished.

The new project would add to downtown Mineola's current building boom.

Lalezarian is constructing a 315-unit apartment building on Old Country Road in Mineola, which is expected to open by the end of the year. Dallas-based Mill Creek Residential Trust is completing 275 luxury apartments on Old Country Road, and last year it opened a 36-unit, affordable rental building for seniors. The project will help fulfill the "unmet demand" for affordable housing in the county, Kearney said.

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