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Tax breaks approved for Garden City apartments

Developer's rendering of apartments proposed in Garden City.

Developer's rendering of apartments proposed in Garden City. Credit: Southern Land company

The Nassau County IDA unanimously approved tax breaks for developers to build 150 apartments in Garden City, which include 17 affordable units, marking the first affordable housing in decades for the village and county.

Taxes for developers with the Nashville-based Southern Land Company would remain at the land value of the four-acre property for the first three years, ranging between $130,000 and $136,000 before rising to $22 million over 20 years, IDA officials said.

Developers said the new apartments would generate $19 million in new tax revenue. Officials said the property, which has remained vacant for more than 20 years, would generate $3.1 million in taxes if it remained undeveloped. The Stewart Avenue site previously served as the parking lot for Newsday’s former office.

The IDA on May 16 also approved a sales tax exemption up to $4.4 million on the purchase of construction materials and an exemption on the $476,981 mortgage recording tax. The existing taxes on the property are valued at $125,825 annually.

“Not only is this an important project for the community. It’s the gateway to Garden City,” IDA chairman Richard Kessel said. “When you look at what this property would generate undeveloped and what it will now generate, it is a huge win for the community, taxpayers, the village and the school district.”

Developers said, if approved, they could begin work in six months on the $90.8 million four-story building. Developers estimate the project would create 416 construction jobs.

The new development will include 150 units with 350 parking spaces, mostly underground. Plans call for 15 affordable units and two more units requested by the IDA for workforce housing.

The building will include 87 one-bedroom apartments, 53 two-bedroom units and 13 three-bedroom apartments. Developers said they expect to cater mostly to empty nesters and workforce millennials who have seen a shortage in rentals in Nassau County.

Several residents expressed concerns during a public hearing, but there was no comments before the board’s vote.

Officials said the housing will bring the first affordable housing to Garden City in at least 50 years.

Garden City is under a 2014 consent decree that 10 percent of units in new developments be affordable to low-income after a federal court found the village lacked such housing. The village was ordered in December to pay $5.3 million in attorneys' fees and costs in a housing discrimination case afterlosing an appeal.

Nassau officials said in March that the county will pay $5.4 million to a different nonprofit developer to settle a separate 14-year-old housing discrimination case.

With Daysi Calavia-Robertson

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