The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency has granted a developer more than $600,000 in tax breaks over 15 years in order to build a three-story building on a state-designated brownfield site just north of downtown Huntington.
Huntington-based Stewart Avenue Ventures LLC will receive the breaks to transform 30 Stewart Ave., which currently is home to two vacant structures. One building was used as a lobster business, and an upholstery and drapery shop. The second building was used to store maintenance supplies.
Over the years, the site was home to an ice facility, a residence, several vehicle maintenance-type shops, and a cabinetmaking business.
The buildings will now be knocked down and replaced with one featuring 12 apartments over commercial/retail space.
Suffolk County IDA Executive Director Anthony J. Catapano said the brownfield designation and unforeseen costs to the developer were issues the board took into consideration in granting the abatements.
He said the board was also advised on the decision by the National Development Council, a nonprofit with a specialty in housing that assists communities with structuring and analyzing economic projects.
“It was a project that was appropriate for IDA assistance for this mixed-use development,” Catapano said.
The savings over 15 years would be $111,263 for a sales tax exemption; an estimated $73,500 in mortgage recording tax exemptions; and $442,399 for a 15-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, to compensate for a property tax abatement. Existing property taxes of $15,589 will continue to be paid.
The seven-member IDA board voted 5-0 with two excused absences at an Aug. 25 hearing.
In asking for the abatement, Mark Hamer, a principal with Stewart Avenue Ventures LLC, said he and his colleagues didn’t know about all the issues with the property when they started the project: the need for an environmental cleanup, increased cost for purchasing land for parking, and the sloping grade of the property, which will need to be corrected.
“When we added all the costs of these unknowns, the project went from being a viable project to really being a marginal project,” Hamer said. “So we reached out to the IDA to see if there were any programs out there that would allow for this development to continue.”
In July, the town board approved a contract to sell a 7,000 square-foot parcel of land adjacent to 30 Stewart Ave. to the developer for $208,750 to use as parking for the proposed mixed-use building.
Hamer said the project offers quality rental housing for millennials in a location where they want to live. He said Huntington is a prime location because it offers a variety of restaurants, entertainment and proximity to mass transit.
“Long Island has been a little bit behind other regions and cities about creating housing in and around suburban/urban areas, i.e. villages and train stations, and so this project fits that bill of moving toward that trend,” said Hamer.
Hamer said he hopes the project is underway by spring.
Three story building
First floor will have service-oriented business like a financial services business, law or doctor’s office
Ten two-bedroom units
Two one-bedroom units