The Glen Cove City Council Wednesday night approved covenants for a giant waterfront project, but one council member objected to city money potentially being used to help build a parking garage for the private mixed-use development.
Most of the covenants were carried over from a 2003 land-development agreement, Mayor Reginald Spinello said Thursday.
One significant new provision states that the city could potentially be responsible for some of the cost of a parking garage, which could include office or commercial space on the top floor.
Councilman Roderick Watson, the sole council member to vote against the covenants, said the city shouldn’t use its own money to help build a structure to benefit a private development.
“I don’t believe we should be changing the project and putting the city at risk of having to develop on pieces of land when this is really an RXR/IDA deal,” he said, referring to the quasi-municipal Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency and Uniondale developer RXR Glen Isle Partners.
Spinello said some of the spaces in the garage may be used by commuters on the city’s planned ferry to Manhattan. If the city helps pay for the garage, it likely would be in exchange for obtaining a grant to pay for most of the cost, he said.
The provision says the city, the IDA and RXR would “cooperate in good faith to agree upon a fair and reasonable allocation of the Parties’ respective financial obligations.”
“There is absolutely no commitment,” Spinello said.
But Watson said similar wording in past agreements that said the city could potentially pay for part of the cost of parks in the project led to a huge city expenditure.
A bond to pay for the parks and other public improvements is projected to cost $283 million over 30 years once interest and other costs are included. The $125 million bond, approved in July, was recently sold, with an interest rate of about 5.6 percent, RXR announced.
Spinello said the closing of the sale of about 47 acres from the IDA to RXR for the Garvies Point development is expected by the end of the month.
The covenants include a statement that the 4.7 acres that would include the garage will stay under the ownership of the IDA, at least while environmental cleanup continues. Frank Haftel, director of the Garvies Point project for RXR, said the $25 million purchase price, including fees, is unchanged.
Another significant change in the covenants that the council approved Wednesday gives the city or the IDA the right to determine how the 28 acres of parkland and other land open to the public will be used, including programming of events. As in the previous agreement, RXR is required to pay for maintenance of the public land, which composes half the project.