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Long Beach: Superblock developer to seek tax breaks again

An iStar Financial executive, Karl Frey, presents his

An iStar Financial executive, Karl Frey, presents his company's plans to the Nassau County IDA on May 13, 2015. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Long Beach city officials are preparing for a third application to be filed for the controversial Superblock development project along the boardwalk, which was denied tax breaks last year.

City officials issued a statement and posted on Twitter Wednesday that Manhattan-based developer iStar Financial plans to submit an application for reduced tax breaks to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

Nassau IDA officials said no application has been submitted since the IDA board rejected a request for $109 million in tax breaks in July.

“The city has learned that iStar Financial, owners and developers of the Superblock, will soon submit a third and final application for tax abatements to the Nassau County IDA, which has the exclusive authority to grant or deny the application,” the city’s statement said. “It is unclear whether the IDA needs to hold a public meeting in connection with this new application.”

Officials with iStar couldn’t be reached for comment.

Long Beach officials have planned a meeting with city residents to discuss the project on May 9 at Long Beach City Hall. Representatives of iStar are not expected to make a presentation at the meeting.

City officials said iStar executives told their staff to resubmit an application to the IDA.

Long Beach officials have hired a Yonkers-based special counsel, Robert Spolzino, to represent the city in all matters regarding the iStar development.

City officials said in the statement that “it is imperative that the residents be provided with the details of this application, and an analysis of its short-term and long-range effects on the city. Residents will also have an opportunity to ask questions regarding this topic of critical concern to the community.”

Long Beach would receive a $5 million community benefit agreement starting once the first tower is built.

The developer’s plans had called for building two 15-floor towers with 522 luxury apartments for $336 million overlooking the boardwalk between Long Beach and Riverside boulevards. Company officials said last year that the project could not be undertaken without the tax breaks known as payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT.

Residents had opposed the development, citing the amount of the tax break and the visual impact of such large buildings blocking ocean views.

Developers with iStar have said they cannot build the complex, including 11,000 square feet of boardwalk-level retail, without tax breaks from the county.

IDA officials have twice rejected applications by iStar to develop the oceanfront property, citing community outrage and the size of tax breaks.

The IDA board declined to bring a vote in 2015 on a proposal for $129 million in tax breaks over 25 years. The proposal defeated last year called for the $109 million in tax breaks over 20 years.

Developers have said the project would generate $119 million in new economic activity for Long Beach and $4.8 million in sales tax revenue for Nassau County.


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