A warehouse proposed for Hicksville that has yet to secure a tenant won tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks from Nassau County last week.
In a rare divided vote, the county’s Industrial Development Agency awarded developer Sanders Equities a sales-tax exemption of up to $231,113 on the purchase of construction materials, equipment and supplies for the $7.3 million warehouse.
The IDA board voted 5-1 to grant the tax incentives, with board member John Coumatos voting against. Most votes have been unanimous since 2011.
Sanders also received a 20-year reduction in property taxes that freezes the land tax for three years followed by increases of 1.66 percent in each of the following 17 years, and raises the building tax by 1.66 percent each year.
However, the Jericho-based developer will have to repay the tax savings if it’s unable to find a tenant in the next four years. The tenant also must be approved by the IDA.
Sanders’ real estate attorney, Daniel P. Deegan, said last week that the tax savings will reduce a potential tenant’s rent payments, which is necessary to find someone to lease the 43,000-square-foot building at 400 West John St. The building, where about 25 people will eventually work, will have no interior columns and ceilings that are at least 30 feet high.
“In order to land a tenant, we need to know what the taxes are on the project,” Deegan told the IDA board.
IDA board secretary Timothy Williams urged Sanders to find a tenant quickly because Nassau taxpayers will receive no benefits until the warehouse is occupied.
Williams also questioned why the IDA staff had brought the project up for a board vote. “I don’t think we should bring projects before the board if there are no immediate benefits to the taxpayers.” He served as IDA board chairman under former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.
The NorthWest Civic Association of Hicksville said the warehouse “would severely” impact the nearby 1,400 homeowners because of increased truck traffic. “We are not against economic growth in our area, but it should be within reason,” said association president Jeffrey Negron.
He said he learned about the project from a Newsday article, not the developer. Sanders purchased the West John Street property in 2015 after a previous owner's plan for a condominium project fell through.
IDA board vice chairman Anthony Simon said last week that developers must hold community meetings before seeking county tax incentives or their requests won’t be considered.
“You have to get out there and answer residents’ questions before you come here and ask for the support of this board,” he said, referring to developers.