The developer of the Syosset Park project presented a design...

The developer of the Syosset Park project presented a design for the mixed-use project at a workshop on March 22, 2018. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The developer of Syosset Park is ending its sale agreement with Oyster Bay for property adjacent to the Long Island Expressway, saying the town defaulted by failing to pay fees, according to court filings.

Syosset Park Development LLC said in a letter dated March 21 that it was terminating the agreement to purchase town-owned 150 Miller Place because Oyster Bay didn’t pay deferral and cell tower lease fees that were listed in the agreement. The location is currently used by the town Department of Public Works.

The town hasn’t paid deferral fees for pushing back the closing of the sale that was initiated in 2013. The town also hasn’t paid rent and fees for a cell tower on the property, the letter filed in Nassau Supreme Court reads.

The developer is demanding that the town repay the $30 million it received as a deposit and installment payment on the property sale, plus $680,000 in deferral fees, $592,000 for cell tower lease rent, interest and attorneys’ fees, a complaint filed May 10 reads.

Town spokesman Brian Nevin said that officials would not comment on pending litigation. An attorney for Syosset Park Development LLC could not be reached for comment.

The developer sent four default notices to the town beginning last September before terminating the agreement, the March letter reads.  

“Despite numerous Default Notices, Notices of Claim, a meeting held in your offices on October 22, 2018, telephone calls and an email from Purchaser’s counsel to the Town Attorney’s office, the Seller has failed to pay to Purchaser the Deferral Fee or the Cell Tower Lease fees,” the letter states.

Syosset Park Development, a partnership between Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and Manhasset-based Castagna Realty Co., intended to transform the property and adjacent land, including the former Cerro Wire site and former town landfill, into a mixed-use development. Plans included 625 townhouses and condominiums, 2 hotels, a 30-acre park, stores, offices and restaurants.

That plan was met with opposition from residents concerned that the project would overburden the Syosset Central School District and that construction on the former Superfund site could pose an environmental hazard to the surrounding area.

Oyster Bay Deputy Town Supervisor Gregory Carman said last month the town was renegotiating its agreement with the developers. Carman said at the time they were considering removing residential construction from their plans and using the property as it’s currently zoned for warehouses and office buildings.

Carman said at that time the developer hadn’t filed a new application with the town and “have not told us exactly what they want to do” but had signaled they were “looking to pursue an approach that would allow them to develop the property in a timely manner.”

Carman also said in April that the town was trying to reach an agreement with the developers to keep its Public Works complex at 150 Miller Place. When the town sold the Syosset property in 2013, the developer agreed to let the town’s buildings, vehicles and equipment remain on the site for five years with an option to rent for an additional three years. Since September, the town has been renting the facility for $75,000 a month.

Last month, the town board approved purchasing a Bethpage property from Nassau County for $2.1 million as an “insurance policy” should the town need to relocate from 150 Miller Place, Carman said in April. The 2.3-acre site at 915 S. Oyster Bay Rd. would be ideal for servicing the town’s vehicles, he said.  

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