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Hempstead IDA mulls tax breaks for Barnum Island apartments

A waterfront apartment complex on Barnum Island is

A waterfront apartment complex on Barnum Island is slated to be built where two restaurants, Paddy McGee's and Coyote Grill, used to stand before they were damaged in superstorm Sandy in 2012. Above, a view of the site on Thursday, March 23, 2017. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency on Thursday is to consider granting tax incentives for a waterfront apartment complex on Barnum Island, according to agency documents.

The developer, Waterview Land Development LLC of Island Park, wants to build 26 one-bedroom and 60 two-bedroom rental apartments, 10 percent of which would be “affordable workforce housing,” according to IDA documents. The 2½-acre property, at Waterview Road and Pettit Place, is the former site of the Paddy McGee’s and Coyote Grill restaurants, which never reopened after they were damaged in superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The development company, headed by John Vitale and his son, Dylan, is seeking a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement, a sales tax exemption as well as a mortgage-recording tax abatement for the apartment complex and the construction of a new bulkhead, according to the IDA documents.

IDA officials have previously said they will only approve payment in lieu of taxes agreements, known as PILOTs, that freeze taxes for three years and increase gradually after that.

“They will not be able to build this project without the agency’s assistance,” said Uniondale attorney Peter Curry, who represents the developer.

The location is in the hamlet of Barnum Island, maps show. Because the site is outside the village of Island Park, only general and school taxes are applicable to any PILOT agreement. The property’s total 2017 taxes are $111,512.90, according to IDA documents.

The vacant lot has a value of about $4 million, Curry said.

Two new full-time and two part-time jobs would be created by the second year of the project, at an average annual salary of $50,000, according to IDA documents. The documents did not specify the creation of any construction jobs.

Newsday has previously reported that the apartments, with potential rents of $1,800 to $2,800 per month, would be geared toward young adults and empty-nesters — older adults looking to downsize their homes because their children, now grown, have moved out. Curry did not have rent figures or construction job estimates available.

Some residents near the site, including people who live at the adjacent Yacht Club Condominium complex, in 2014 voiced concern that their homes could be flooded since the new apartments would be built on pilings raised 2 or 3 feet, and their waterfront views would be obstructed by the new complex, according to Newsday articles.

But Curry said that because Hempstead Town officials approved the project’s site plan as well as a change in zoning from industrial to transit-oriented housing, the issues have been “resolved to the satisfaction of the town.”

Curry said Vitale hopes to build the apartment complex, rather than resurrect the restaurants, because “there’s a lack of rental housing” in the area.

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