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Nassau to vote next week on tax breaks for Long Beach development

Condos and apartments are proposed for Riverside and

Condos and apartments are proposed for Riverside and Long Beach roads in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency plans to vote Tuesday on tax breaks to developers to build 438 oceanfront condos and apartments on the Long Beach Superblock.

The IDA held a pair of public hearings Wednesday at the Allegria Hotel and online via Zoom where several dozen speakers both endorsed and questioned the project, which could save developers $49 million, but also result in $32 million in tax revenue for the city of Long Beach.

Garden City developers Engel Burman plan to build the $369 million project that includes 200 condos and 238 apartments in three buildings on the property facing the boardwalk between Riverside and Long Beach boulevards.

The project would also feature a 6,500-square-foot restaurant, a grab-and-go market on the boardwalk, a public plaza and two levels of parking with 1,000 spaces.

Developers said they cannot build the project without a 25-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, on the apartment building that would only increase taxes by 1.8% taxes the first 10 years before they gradually increase for the life of the project. Developers said the condos would pay taxes in full to the city, school district and Nassau County once they are built.

Some residents said they were opposed to the tax breaks, construction and traffic, but others supported jobs for union labor. 

Michael White, a member of the carpenters union who lives in Long Beach, said he backs the project and the new tax revenue it would bring to the city.

“I’ve been staring at the Superblock property since I was in pullups, but now I see something in Long Beach that needs an attraction and a useful space to Long Beach that hasn’t been there in 35 years,” White said.

Long Beach resident Kathleen O’Leary said she was concerned about the tax implication for residents, who have faced increases over the past few years.

“I feel like this is not the time to put an additional tax burden on the people of Long Beach," she said.

Engel Burman attorney Dan Deegan said the project would generate 1,000 new construction jobs and $138 million in new taxes for the life of the project — including $75 million for the Long Beach School District.

 The Superblock property has been vacant for nearly 40 years while mired in litigation and land fights between the city and past developers. IDA officials previously rejected tax breaks for $129 million and $109 million for Manhattan developer iStar Financial. That led to a $100 million lawsuit against the city for not supporting tax breaks. IDA officials  and developers do we mean istar when we refer to developers? said the lawsuit would be dismissed as a condition of tax breaks and selling the property to Engel Burman

“I think there is significant support for the project and at the same time I don’t see the opposition that was initially expected,” IDA chairman Richard Kessel said.   “So it makes me more comfortable about the project. This is a milestone in the history of the City of Long Beach and a key economic development driver." 

John Bendo, Long Beach City Council president, who said he was speaking as a resident and not on behalf of the council, did not take a position on the project.

He said a $49 million PILOT would reduce taxes paid to the city by $9.4 million, but would net the city nearly $24 million for the first 20 years of the project.

“I’m a little conflicted,” Bendo said. “As a taxpayer and as a council person wrestling with the $9.4 million that won’t be coming into the city’s coffers, it’s something I think about." 

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