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Nassau IDA tables proposal to grant tax breaks for Great Neck apartment project

A proposal to redevelop the property at 733-741

A proposal to redevelop the property at 733-741 Middle Neck Rd in Great Neck has been tabled indefinitely. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency has indefinitely tabled a proposal to grant developers a tax break to build a 60-apartment structure on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck after several residents voiced concerns about higher taxes and impact to the school district.

Gesher Center LLC is seeking a 22-year payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, to redevelop the property at 733-741 Middle Neck Rd. The plans call for a four-story building with 60 units — 56 two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments, 93 underground parking spaces and an art gallery. The project includes nine affordable units, the developer's attorney said.

John Farrell, the Uniondale-based attorney representing Gesher Center LLC owned by Yosef Shemtov, at a public meeting Tuesday night said his client's project will re-energize the community and would be a financial boon for the area.

"Overall there's a huge benefit to the village in getting this property redeveloped," Farrell said at the meeting. "We feel this is really going to kick-start the redevelopment along Middle Neck Road and hopefully the revitalization of that strip of retail that goes from basically this location all the way down to the railroad tracks."

Village officials approved the architectural review of a 60-apartment structure in May, despite residents and neighbors who had asked for the structures to be scaled down.

Carrie-Anne Tondo, a partner at Ingerman Smith law firm in Hauppauge, spoke on behalf of the Great Neck School District and said approval of the PILOT could mean a loss of revenue for the school district. She was joined by John Powell, the assistant superintendent for business of the Great Neck Public Schools. She urged the developers and IDA to further analyze the impact the development could have on the district before making a decision.

"It doesn't appear there is any analysis concerning the impact to the school district," Tondo said about the developer's application. She added that the district would not see new revenue under the proposed PILOT.

Jay Chagrin, a Great Neck resident for the past 24 years, said he opposed the project.

"I'm tired of Nassau County raising my taxes to fulfill a project for somebody else," Chagrin said. "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

Nassau IDA chairman Richard Kessel said Tuesday night he received dozens of letters from residents stating their disapproval of the project.

"There seems to be a significant concern about this project and I am not satisfied personally that we've heard from the village about their position on this project," Kessel said. "I need to hear and engage with the village about this project."

Kessel said the developer needs to put more effort to communicate with residents. He said the matter remains "open ended."

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