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County to consider $52M in tax breaks for Long Beach development

The Superblock property is on Riverside and Long

The Superblock property is on Riverside and Long Beach boulevards in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency will hold a remote public hearing Tuesday on up to $52 million in proposed tax breaks for oceanfront apartments planned at the Long Beach Superblock property. 

Garden City developer Engel Burman has applied for tax breaks to build two nine-story condo buildings and a 10-story apartment building, including a total of 438 units on the six-acre vacant property facing the boardwalk between Long Beach and Riverside boulevards.

Developers have requested the 30-year tax breaks under a PILOT program, or payment in lieu of taxes.

Developers said the first 100-unit condo building and the 238-unit apartment building would be built first, with full taxes assessed on the condos. The second condo building would be built about six to nine months later, with the project finished in four years.

Developers and officials with the IDA initially said an in-person public hearing would be held in Long Beach, but as the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on, officials said they have to move the project forward. The public hearing will now be held via Zoom at nassauida.org

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had suspended publicly attended government hearings through July 6. IDA chairman Richard Kessel said the agency may hold a second virtual hearing at 3 p.m. Wednesday. 

“We wish we could have done it in person, but we could be waiting for months and this project is sorely needed to get up and running,” Kessel said. “We don’t want to stay frozen. This county needs economic development and needs jobs. It’s foolhardy to wait until the pandemic is over because we may be waiting a long time, and no one knows when that will be.”

City officials said the IDA agreed to delay a vote on the project until the week of July 12.

Developers made a presentation to Long Beach City Council members last month, projecting the condos will generate $3.5 million a year in taxes once condos are built on the vacant land. Developers plan to spend $369 million to build the condo and apartment buildings, and said they will complete a $5 million sewer improvement project.

Engel Burman officials said they held several community meetings before the stay-at-home orders and told community groups that they would need financial assistance for the project. The project includes two levels of elevated parking with about 1,000 parking spaces, flood prevention measures and 6,500 square feet of boardwalk-level restaurant and retail space.

Developers said they needed to start construction this year and to complete the purchase of the property from former developer iStar Financial, who had filed a $100 million lawsuit against the city. IDA approval is a condition of the contract of sale with iStar.

“We have to get this project going this year," Engel Burman’s attorney Daniel Deegan said. "We have to know we have the assistance of the IDA and have the support of the city so this can become a reality.”

Long Beach officials in a virtual presentation questioned developers about parking and construction noise during the project, but have not endorsed the project or commented on the public hearing. 

“As you know, we have fiscal issues, and the tax schedule going forward is extremely important to us,” Councilman Michael Delury said.

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