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Agency OKs tax breaks for Asian shop plaza

After Tuesday's quake jolted the Nassau County Executive

After Tuesday's quake jolted the Nassau County Executive and Legislative Office Building, the county's Industrial Development Agency resumed its meeting outside the building, approving aid for an East Hills auto dealer. (Aug. 23, 2011) Photo Credit: Michael Tamborrino/Nassau County

A proposed shopping center that caters to the needs and tastes of South Asian immigrants received a boost Tuesday from Nassau County.

The board of directors of the county's Industrial Development Agency unanimously approved tax breaks for the Kundan Shopping Plaza in Hicksville. More than half of the 42,000-square-foot project will consist of a supermarket.

The development, valued at $3.25 million, will be located inside a former Circuit City electronics store at 217 Bethpage Rd. The grocery store and other shops are expected to open in January.

Developer Shudh Jasuja said he hopes to house a restaurant and other retailers in the building -- all serving immigrants from India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries. He predicted that shoppers would come from throughout Long Island, Queens, Westchester County and Connecticut.

Without relief from the mortgage recording tax and sales tax, Jasuja said the project could not go on. He will make property-tax payments under a Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement for the next decade.

IDA chairman Jeffrey Seltzer endorsed the project, saying, "This targets a very underserved community. There is no market of this type in Nassau and Suffolk."

The retail complex will create 175 jobs over the next three years.

The IDA also approved tax breaks for Penn Toyota, which wants to renovate its 20,000-square-foot building in East Hills and construct a 15,000-square-foot addition.

Owner Robert Penn said he must improve operations to meet Toyota standards or lose the right to sell its autos. The project is valued at $5.8 million.

Penn has agreed to PILOT payments for 10 years and abatements of sales and mortgage recording taxes on construction costs. The dealership employs 59 workers and expects to hire 20 more.

The IDA agreed to aid Penn in part because 30 percent of his business is from outside Nassau, primarily from Suffolk and Queens.

More information about the developments' tax breaks was not immediately available.

Consideration of Penn's application for assistance was interrupted by earthquake rumblings hitting the county's Executive and Legislative Office Building in Mineola.

IDA board directors and staff exited the building. At 2:06 p.m. they reconvened on the steps, near a statue of Theodore Roosevelt. Penn's application was approved unanimously. The directors and staff then used their cellphones to check on family and friends.

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