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Developer to ask for $1.24M in tax breaks for Glen Cove project

Glen Cove's City Hall is pictured on Sept.

Glen Cove's City Hall is pictured on Sept. 23, 2015. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency will vote Tuesday on whether to give more than $1.2 million in tax breaks to the developer of a downtown apartment and retail building.

Uniondale-based RXR Realty is asking for the tax breaks to build Village Square on 2.8 acres in downtown Glen Cove. The buildings now on the site are mostly vacant. It would include 146 apartments, retail space and a plaza deeded to the city for public events.

RXR Glen Isle Partners, of which RXR Realty is majority owner, is building Garvies Point — with 1,110 condos and apartments, parks, offices and retail — about a half-mile away. That project received more than $200 million in IDA tax breaks.

For Village Square, RXR is asking for $1.24 million in mortgage and sales-tax exemptions. The IDA also will vote on payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, that would start at $183,062 for the first three years and increase 2 percent annually for 15 years. The value of that property tax break is undetermined.

IDA Executive Director Barbara Peebles said the property, which has languished for years, is “the key to revitalizing our downtown. . . . If they don’t get the PILOT, it stays blighted and it never gets developed.”

Frank Haftel, first vice president of RXR, said the $49 million project wouldn’t attract lenders and investors without financial assistance.

RXR has yet to come to an agreement to buy a small parcel of the property, and the tax breaks are contingent on RXR owning that land, IDA attorney Milan Tyler said.

Marsha Silverman, a Democratic City Council candidate and one of 105 plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to halt construction of Garvies Point, said she opposes the PILOTs. She said they should be used to lure new job-creating businesses to the city, not “to financially assist a wealthy developer,” which she asserted could build Village Square without the breaks.

“When they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the rest of us have to make up the difference, and we subsidize this developer,” Silverman said.

Peebles said current property taxes on the site are $154,422, so the PILOTs will reap far more revenue for the city than if the land were left vacant.

Silverman spoke against the PILOTs at an Aug. 9 IDA public hearing held outside the IDA’s regular meeting schedule, which Silverman said showed a lack of transparency.

Glen Cove Mayor and IDA chairman Reginald Spinello said the date was chosen as part of “an aggressive timeline” for developing the site. No public-comment period is expected on Tuesday, but the board will discuss written and verbal comments about the PILOT and take them into consideration, Spinello said.

The IDA meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the second-floor conference room of City Hall, 9 Glen St.

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