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Developer wins tax breaks for 72-unit apartment building in Westbury

A rendering of the proposed 72-unit apartment building

A rendering of the proposed 72-unit apartment building to be built at 461 Railroad Ave. in Westbury. Credit: Terwilliger & Bartone Properties LLC

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency granted a 20-year tax break to developers proposing to build a 72-unit apartment building in a move they say will energize Westbury’s downtown.

At a board meeting on Nov. 18, the IDA approved several tax breaks to Farmingdale-based developers Terwilliger & Bartone Properties LLC, which plan to build a multistory structure on the site of a produce warehouse at 461 Railroad Ave. The developers will pay the current tax, $102,700, for the first two years of the project. Over the next 20 years, they will pay $9.4 million in taxes as part of the PILOT — payments in lieu of taxes — agreement.

The IDA granted tax breaks of about $818,000 on the purchase of construction materials and equipment, and more than $137,000 in mortgage recording tax, said Daniel P. Deegan, real estate attorney for Terwilliger & Bartone.

The $23-million project will include studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and developers have committed to building 10 below market units.

"We’ve been working in partnership with the village to help implement their downtown revitalization plan and this allows the plan to be finalized and we could commence building," Deegan said. The developers are looking to close on the property by the end of the year.

Anthony Bartone, managing partner at Terwilliger & Bartone, said they plan on demolishing the current building in January and begin construction in February or March, expected to take 18 months.

"I think it’s an overwhelming victory for the community," Bartone said. "To have a project that will now be brick and mortar, and have all the studies become real, is of a measurable value."

Reynolds Zelaya, president of Westbury Schools Parent Teacher Association Council, said he supports the revitalization effort, but hopes the new developments won't hurt the school district.

"Is the school district going to be properly compensated, so if we do need to expand the building once again because of all of this construction, it doesn't fall on the taxpayers," Zelaya noted.

Nassau IDA chairman Richard Kessel said the project will boost the village's downtown.

"I think it’s a huge shot in the arm to the village that’s going to bring new people spending their money in the Westbury downtown stores and restaurants," Kessel said.

Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro said he hopes the project will be "transformative" for the area near the Long Island Rail Road station, which was rezoned in 2019 to allow for higher and denser buildings in the 50-acre zone.

"The project is really going to beautify the property it is going to be affecting and hopefully lead to some other projects nearby," Cavallaro said. "It’s going to have a tremendous impact on the tax base, even under the PILOT, the revenue generated by the project … is going to be substantial."

The developers also are working on another project nearby, at 425 Railroad Ave.

Though the project received preliminary inducement, which allows the IDA to look at the project and negotiate with the developers, Kessel said they will hold off on moving forward until the village reviews and approves the project.

Cavallaro said the village has heard about phase two project involving 425 Railroad Ave., but said nothing has been submitted.

Bartone said they plan on submitting a formal application, for a 58-unit apartment project with eight below market units, to the village in the first week of December.

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