A real estate developer must pay the Village of Great Neck Plaza more than $3,000 in fees for failing to complete a multimillion-dollar construction project by deadline, the first to do so as part of an effort to crack down on construction timelines.
Nemat Development CEO Hooshang Nematzadeh received a three-month extension on Thursday to finish a three-story, nine-unit apartment complex at 55 S. Middle Neck Rd. But before getting the extension, Nematzadeh had to explain why the $5.1 million project is incomplete.
"We started late and we fell behind because of an underperforming electrical contractor, which went out of business, unfortunately," Nematzadeh told trustees. "Other than that, we waited 10 months for gas and electrical service. We cannot go on finishing [the building] until those services are in."
Nematzadeh, who also owns The Galleria at 5-9 Grace Ave., is the first developer to pay extra money under an amendment to a law passed in July to help keep construction projects on track. Under the amendment, developers who go beyond their two-year construction deadline must pay $300, plus $18 for every $1,000 of construction work left to be done.
Village trustees had originally intended the amendment to apply only to future projects. Nematzadeh recently completed The Galleria, a mixed-use project that was supposed to be finished by August 2017.
According to the 55 S. Middle Neck Rd. project's architect, there is $168,800 worth of work left to be completed Nematzadeh received a permit in August 2015 to demolish the former doctor's office and erect a new building. In August 2017, Nematzadeh's building permit expired and the village gave him an extension that was valid until last month.
To finish the building, Nematzadeh still needs to place village-approved streetlights in front of the apartment complex and create a new sidewalk with utility conduits installed so companies like Altice, Verizon or Spectrum can insert their equipment, said Michael Sweeney, Great Neck Plaza's public services commissioner.
Nematzadeh said his contractors also need to install flooring in each unit, finish the electrical outlet covers, build the staircase and install sprinkler heads. He said contractors will probably finish the work in three months.
Trustees approved Nematzadeh's extension on a 4-0 vote, with Mayor Jean Celender absent. He will face additional fines if the work is still not completed by then.
Trustees told Nematzadeh to focus on the outside work first so the construction-in-progress doesn't become an eyesore. "We want this finished before the end of the year," Deputy Mayor Ted Rosen told Nematzadeh.
"I do, too, more than anybody," Nematzadeh said. "The cost is killing me."