The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency will hold two virtual public hearings this week to review tax breaks to build 238 oceanfront apartments and 200 condos on the Superblock property.
IDA officials will hold Zoom meetings to accept public comment starting at 6 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday through the IDA’s website.
Officials said they were still looking for a site in Long Beach that could allow for an in-person public hearing, but as of last week had not found a location.
IDA Chairman Richard Kessel said a location would have to be set by Monday for an in-person hearing, which would require capacity to 50 people, including the IDA board and developers, in addition to a site for overflow crowds. He said Long Beach City Hall has reduced space and limited elevator access to the council chambers.
“I don’t think it’s doable at City Hall,” Kessel said. “There are a lot of complications we have to think of, but we’re making every effort to do this in-person.”
The IDA will then vote Aug. 20 on whether to provide financial assistance to Garden City developer Engel Burman to build a 10-story apartment building on the oceanfront property on the boardwalk between Riverside and Long Beach boulevards.
Two nine-story condo buildings also planned for the property will be built simultaneously, but pay full taxes once they are built, officials said.
Developers had requested up to $52 million in tax breaks in a 30-year deal for a payment in lieu of taxes, or a PILOT, with the county. Their application was revised to a 25-year deal, which also would make 30 of the apartments affordable units.
The IDA rescheduled the public hearings from last month after city officials raised concerns that the project would cost the city more than it would receive in new revenue from taxes over 25 years.
City Council members said in a new analysis last month that the project would eventually translate to an additional $32 million for the city over the life of the project. Developers would make reduced payments for the first 10 years and then pay gradually increasing taxes over the next 15 years.
The analysis showed the city would pay more in expenses at the beginning of the project, but the additional taxes from condos and increased taxes over the life of the project would increase revenue to the city.
“The city is never going to come out on the short end of this deal and we actually will go up each year,” Long Beach City Council President John Bendo said. “This is a net positive to the city overall each year.”
The IDA gave preliminary approval to consider tax breaks in April, pending public hearings and a financial analysis of the project.
“We like the project and think it’s a great economic boost for the City of Long Beach. We’re supportive of the concept and getting this project done,” Kessel said. “But we want to hear from the public and elected officials to make sure the city is comfortable and involved in it. If the City Council and 100 people said no, I doubt we would do it. The purpose is to hear from community groups and their opinions."