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Tax breaks for proposed Long Beach condos get initial approval

Hundreds of condos and apartments are proposed for

Hundreds of condos and apartments are proposed for the Superblock property in Long Beach. Credit: Engel Burman

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency voted this week to give preliminary approval for tax breaks to developers of the oceanfront Superblock apartment and condo project.

Garden City developer Engel Burman is seeking financial assistance to build two condo buildings totaling 200 units and a 238-unit apartment building facing the boardwalk on a 6-acre property between Riverside and Long Beach boulevards.

Developers held six meetings with Long Beach civic groups and elected officials and said they are seeking up to $52 million in tax breaks for property taxes, mortgage recording taxes and sales tax. Taxes would be phased in over 30 years in a payment in lieu of taxes agreement, or a PILOT.

Developers said they cannot build the project without financial assistance. A public hearing would be held in Long Beach after the COVID-19 pandemic and before the IDA votes on any tax breaks.

Engel Burman plans to spend $369 million building the beachside complex, which would include 6,500 square feet of retail on the boardwalk, including a restaurant and grab-and-go market. Rents for apartments would range from the mid-$2,000s to $4,000s, and condos would sell for between $800,000 to $1.2 million.

The project would include more than 1,000 parking spaces built below the complex. Apartments and condos must be FEMA compliant and cannot be built below 17 feet above sea level. Developers said they needed IDA assistance to offset construction costs, lower revenue from complying with city density requirements and building 24 affordable workforce apartments.

“The Superblock is a long time coming,” Nassau IDA chairman Richard Kessel said during a virtual online meeting Tuesday. “A project of this scope will have a positive financial impact on Long Island, the barrier island and Nassau itself. It’s probably the most significant project to date that this board has taken up.”

Developers expect to generate $71 million in construction wages during the four-year construction project, which they plan to start in December with union labor if approved, Engel Burman’s attorney Daniel P. Deegan said.

Officials said that the 200 condos would be taxed fully after they are built, while taxes on apartments will be phased in after 10 years. Property taxes on the land, which has been vacant for 40 years, are about $500,000 annually. Developers project property taxes to increase to $3.5 million once completed, to be generated for the city, school district and county. 

Engel Burman has a contract to purchase the property from /added/ former developer iStar Financial for $30.5 million, but the deal is contingent on city permit approval, IDA assistance and settling a $100 million lawsuit by iStar against the city.

Developers plan to work with the Nassau and Suffolk Building Trades Council to create hundreds of construction jobs, starting with construction on parking, apartments and the one of the condo buildings.

City zoning code would keep the two condo buildings at nine stories and the apartment building at 10 stories, while maintaining 60 percent of ocean views for surrounding buildings behind the property. The building would be separated by a public plaza and green spaces.

Developers are also working with Long Beach building and fire officials to ensure fire departments are able to respond and navigate the property.

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