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Long Beach schedules vote on Superblock building permit

The zoning board will vote on whether iStar can continue with its plans to build hundreds of oceanfront apartments in Long Beach.

Developers want to build apartment towers near the

Developers want to build apartment towers near the boardwalk between Riverside and Long Beach boulevards in Long Beach. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The Long Beach Zoning Board of Appeals will vote Thursday to extend or revoke a building permit and variances granted in 2014 to build 522 oceanfront apartments on the boardwalk property known as Superblock.

The seven-member panel will vote on height and density variances given to Manhattan developer iStar Financial and if the developers met requirements of the variances set by the board.

Developers planning to build two 15-story apartments were required to file “all necessary permits” to build the project and were told to start construction within the first year or else the variances were revoked.

City officials said iStar only filed a foundation permit for the project, followed by a concrete foundation and fence, which was extended twice by the city’s building commissioner through May 2018.

Developers have said they cannot build the projects without tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency and were twice denied tax breaks up to $129 million. Attorneys for iStar said the project is still moving forward with plans to file a third application for tax breaks. IDA officials said no new application has been filed.

Attorneys for iStar said they believed they were in compliance with the city and not told that variances were set to expire or needed additional permits. Attorneys also said the variances shouldn’t expire until litigation challenging the project is closed.

“We can say with certainty that if the City had honored its obligations, this project would be well underway to completion,” said Karl Frey, iStar executive vice president.

Representatives with iStar filed a $100 million lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Long Beach, arguing the city was in breach of contract for not supporting tax breaks turned down by Nassau County. City officials supported the first application for tax breaks, but never drafted a letter of support for additional tax breaks.

The vote is scheduled as part of the zoning board’s 7 p.m. meeting Thursday on the sixth floor of Long Beach City Hall.

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