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Glen Cove sets special meeting to vote on developer’s tax breaks

RXR Realty wants to transform the shores of

RXR Realty wants to transform the shores of Hempstead Harbor in Glen Cove into a mixed-use development. Credit: RXR Realty

The Glen Cove City Council Tuesday night is holding a special meeting to vote on hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed tax breaks for the Garvies Point waterfront redevelopment.

The meeting, at 7 p.m. in City Hall, is on PILOTs – payments in lieu of taxes – for the $960 million project that Uniondale-based RXR Glen Isle Partners LLC is planning.

The development would include 1,110 condominiums and apartments, public parks, marinas, restaurants, stores and offices.

Michael Zarin, a White Plains-based attorney for Glen Cove on the project, said the PILOTs would reduce RXR’s property taxes by 40 percent for about 20 years starting in 2017 and by 20 percent for about 20 years after that. Zarin said he did not know the exact tax savings.

A real-estate-tax forecast by Mineola-based Standard Valuation Services projects more than $1.05 billion in tax revenue from the development over 40 years for the city, Nassau County, the Glen Cove City School District and the Glen Cove Public Library.

Nearly $283 million of that tax money would fund bonds and bond-related expenses to pay for parks, an esplanade, a reconstructed road and other public amenities and infrastructure, according to documents that Zarin said were prepared by Citigroup, the Manhattan-based financial services company.

Zarin said even though the tax breaks would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the financial benefit of Garvies Point to the city far outweighs the costs. Glen Cove would net more than $225 million in tax revenue over 40 years, even after the bonds and all tax breaks are taken into account, he said. The schools, county and library would earn nearly $400 million.

Most of that money wouldn’t flow to the taxing bodies until after 2043, when the bonds are projected to be paid off.

Grace Slezak, a longtime critic of the project and a Glen Cove resident, said the city and the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency – which June 30 approved the bonds and sales, use, mortgage and property tax exemptions – are acting like “an arm of the developer” by giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to the multi-billion-dollar RXR Realty, which company officials say is majority owner of RXR Glen Isle Partners.

Philip Pidot, an unsuccessful 2015 City Council candidate who runs a Manhattan financial products startup, said he is troubled the city hasn’t released the dollar amount of the property-tax breaks and all the assumptions that underlie predictions of the massive tax revenue.

“Before the council votes, it is only proper the public be informed as to what is driving these forecasts,” he said.

Zarin said a special council meeting is needed – the next regularly scheduled one is July 26 – because of favorable bond-related costs.

“The faster we do it, the cheaper the bonds will be,” he said.

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