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Hearings on hold for Long Beach project amid new data, officials say

The Superblock property is between Riverside and Long

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

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency postponed two public hearings this week to discuss tax breaks to build 438 oceanfront condos and apartments in Long Beach.

Long Beach city officials asked the IDA to postpone the remote public hearings Tuesday and Wednesday after city officials received a new financial analysis from developers submitted to the IDA that showed the project would cost more for the city than what the city would receive in new revenue from taxes over 25 years.

Garden City developers Engel Burman had initially requested a 30-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, which would phase in property taxes starting in 2031 and potentially save developers up to $52 million. Developers said this week that they revised their PILOT request to 25 years, but have not determined how much that translates into tax savings. 

Engel Burman’s attorney, Daniel Deegan, said the project on land known as the Superblock will bring revenue to the city, and he planned to show new revenue projections in the next few days. The property has been vacant for 40 years after previous developments failed. Engel Burman has a contract to buy the property from Manhattan developer iStar, which is required to be completed this year. Developers also said tax breaks have to be approved by the IDA and city permits issued this year for the project to be viable.

Developers have said they cannot build on the 6-acre parcel without IDA assistance to offset construction costs and flood prevention measures. The project includes 200 condos, with units priced between $1 million to $1.25 million and taxed fully. The 238 apartments, which include 24 affordable units, will rent for between mid-$2,000 to mid-$4,000 a month. 

“Our understanding is the city wanted some clarification on the numbers and they wanted to compare our numbers to the city budget,” Deegan said. “We’re hoping to keep on track. If it doesn’t happen this year, it’s not getting done.”

Long Beach City Council president John Bendo said the city’s consultant needs to review new financial data to analyze how it would affect the city.

“We need to know how it will affect actual taxpayers of Long Beach,” Bendo said.

Nassau IDA chairman Richard Kessel said the IDA is working to address concerns with the city and hopes to reschedule the remote public hearings.

“If the city is going to oppose this, I think it’s going to be a problem,” Kessel said. “This is too important a project to not have significant city support.”

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