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Developer seeking $52M in IDA tax breaks for Long Beach project

Developer Engel Burman plans to build a $369

Developer Engel Burman plans to build a $369 million project consisting of 438 condo and apartment units on a six-acre property that has been vacant since 1985. Credit: Engel Burman

A developer of the proposed oceanfront Superblock property in Long Beach will ask Nassau County officials to consider tax breaks to build three condo and apartment buildings facing the boardwalk.

The Nassau Industrial Development Agency will hold its first public meeting Tuesday to consider the application of Garden City-based developer Engel Burman. The meeting and presentation will be broadcast online via a Zoom meeting link on the IDA website. The meeting will open negotiations between the IDA and developers before a vote on tax assistance.

Nassau IDA Chairman Richard Kessel said, if granted, the IDA would hold a public hearing in Long Beach, after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

“We’re not going to have a public hearing until things start to return to normal,” Kessel said. “No one knows when that takes place.”

Developers plan to build a $369 million project consisting of 438 units on the six-acre property that has been vacant since 1985. The project includes two nine-story, 100-condo buildings and a 10-story building with 238 rental-apartments. The project includes 24 affordable apartments, which qualify for tax breaks. Officials said the building will comply with existing building and zoning codes.

Engel Burman is proposing 6,500 square feet of boardwalk-level retail, including a restaurant and a grab-and-go convenience store. The project would include two levels of parking below the building with more than 1,000 parking spaces. If approved, construction could start in December and be completed in four years.

Developers are requesting tax breaks from the IDA with a 30-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes. Officials with Engel Burman told civic groups during six Long Beach community meetings that they are seeking about $52 million in tax breaks, which must be determined by the IDA.

“The development will cause an economic surge to the waterfront and downtown business district and support area businesses by the influx of new residents,” Engel Burman’s application states. “The inability to obtain financial assistance from the agency will doom the project and the site will remain vacant.”

Developers need assistance due to high construction costs and uncertain real estate taxes. Officials told the IDA the project cannot be built without financial assistance.

Engel Burman officials said the project will bring hundreds of construction jobs to Long Beach. They said it will also increase tax revenue to the city and school district while promoting the waterfront and accessibility to the LIRR, which is minutes from the boardwalk.

Developers have also agreed to match $5 million in offsite sewer and infrastructure improvements for the city to support the new units.

Engel Burman entered a contract to purchase the property last year for $30.5 million from Manhattan-based iStar Financial, with a sale contingent on Engel Burman obtaining acquisition of “all necessary permits” and approval of the IDA.

A $100 million lawsuit by iStar is still pending against the city after previous city officials did not endorse the company’s request for up to $129 million in tax breaks for the project. The new city administration is not required to endorse the project, but the lawsuit must be resolved before construction, officials said.

Long Beach City Council president John Bendo said council members attended several community meetings to view plans, but do not know the parameters of the requested tax breaks.

“It would be beneficial, certainly from a tax base standpoint, for something to be developed there,” Bendo said. “The city would see full taxes on the condos as soon as they’re complete. It provides some benefit to the city that was lacking in the iStar project.”

Long Beach Superblock project

Nassau IDA hearing, April 7, 6:30 p.m.

Public hearing to be determined

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