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Nassau IDA delays decision on New Cassel proposal over concerns about union bids

Manhattan-based Euroamerican Funding Group wants to build a

Manhattan-based Euroamerican Funding Group wants to build a 12,000-square-foot, three-story development with one-bedroom apartments for seniors, a medical clinic and a bank at 985 Prospect Ave. in New Cassel.   Credit: Jeff Bachner

Plans for a three-story, mixed-use development in New Cassel are on hold after Nassau County Industrial Development Agency board members said they want assurance that unionized carpenters, plumbers and electricians will be able to bid on construction work.

Manhattan-based Euroamerican Funding Group wants to build a 12,000-square-foot development with 10 one-bedroom affordable apartments for seniors on the top two floors. The ground floor would house a medical clinic and a bank. The proposed $3.21 million building would sit at 985 Prospect Ave., which is 16,630 square feet of land owned by the North Hempstead Community Development Agency.

Euroamerican officials said they would buy the land from the agency for $450,000 if the IDA approves its application for tax exemptions. Euroamerican officials came to a July 18 IDA board meeting hoping the board would approve a 20-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, agreement.

“These type of projects are very tight [profit] margin-wise,” Daniel Deegan, a Uniondale-based lawyer representing Euroamerican, told the IDA. “The IDA’s assistance is absolutely necessary. You guys would be the difference in whether this project happens or not.”

Under the PILOT terms, Euroamerican would save $103,500 in sales tax on construction material and $14,250 on the mortgage recording tax. 

IDA chairman Richard Kessel said board members want to know that "there were serious meetings with the union and that they are given a chance to bid on the project" before making their decision.

"We can't mandate that every job be union, but considering it's a community we really want to help, it would be nice to see some local union workers working on that particular project," Kessel said, adding that the IDA will revisit Euroamerican's application during the agency's September meeting. 

The town's community development agency promised IDA members that Euroamerican will meet with union leaders.

“We’re not going to close on the project until there has been a meeting with the interested labor unions and there’s active outreach in terms of them bidding on the project,” said Rosemary Olsen, the community development agency’s executive director.

The IDA hired Manhattan-based National Development Council to study the Euroamerican development and generate a report with the council’s opinion. 

Kevin Gremse, a senior director for the council, said Euroamerican definitely needs IDA approval to make the New Cassel project possible. Gremse noted that the Prospect Avenue land is vacant and therefore not generating property taxes, but that the proposed PILOT agreement would generate $765,649 over 20 years.

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