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Building owner offers to lower apartment rents for more IDA tax aid

Lalezarian Properties is proposing to increase the number

Lalezarian Properties is proposing to increase the number of affordable apartments in its upscale Morgan Parc building from 27 to 40 over the next 18 years.   Credit: Chris Ware

The owner of a Mineola apartment building is seeking an additional 10 years of property tax breaks in return for reducing the rent on more units, officials said.

Lalezarian Properties is proposing to increase the number of affordable apartments in its upscale Morgan Parc building from 27 to 40 over the next 18 years.

The units would be rented to individuals and families with incomes equal to 80% or less of Long Island’s median income, which ranges from $66,450 for one person to $125,300 for a household of eight, according to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 2015, Lake Success-based Lalezarian was awarded 20 years of property tax savings by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency before Morgan Parc was constructed at 199 Second St., adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station. The company has saved $439,200 so far, or about 50% in 2019 and 2020, according to state records.

New IDA policy

The request for more help is in response to a new IDA affordable-housing policy, which permits the granting of further property tax savings if a developer or building owner will boost the number of affordable apartments – a key priority for county leaders.

The Lalezarian proposal is the first to be taken up by the IDA since the housing policy was adopted in July 2020, officials said last week.

Lalezarian would make five more apartments affordable upon securing the additional property tax breaks followed by four units in 2029 and four in 2039, said the company’s attorney, Marc Bianchi.

"This would make 15% of the units in the building affordable and extend that affordability" from 20 years to 30 years, which would coincide with the length of the property-tax breaks, he said. Just 10% of the apartments are now affordable.

Bianchi said the Morgan Parc building was completed a year ago and all 266 apartments have been rented. He said retailers and other service businesses are being sought for the first floor.

Records show the building has created 19 jobs, one more than Lalezarian promised the IDA in 2015. Salaries are about $35,000, on average.

'You are asking too much'

IDA board secretary Timothy Williams, who voted for the new housing policy last year, said the Lalezarian proposal doesn’t increase the number of affordable apartments at Morgan Parc fast enough. "You are asking too much," he said, referring to the company.

Williams said the IDA board should put off negotiations with Lalezarian until implementation of the new policy is thoroughly discussed. "We shouldn’t be considering this without the homework being done first," he said last week.

IDA chairman Richard Kessel disagreed, saying the Lalezarian proposal offers the opportunity to act on a top priority of county government.

"There is a great need for more affordable housing in Nassau County. …This would serve as a model for future developments," he said. "We have to start somewhere."

Five other IDA board members joined Kessel in voting "yea" to begin negotiations with Lalezarian while Williams voted "nay."

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