Nassau IDA backs new rentals on Sandy-ravaged site

Transit transition: An artist's rendering of the new Woodcrest Village Park, a transit-friendly rental complex coming soon to Oceanside.

An Oceanside site ravaged by Superstorm Sandy will soon be remade into a new rental-apartment complex, with the help of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

The Nassau IDA has approved a tax-reducing economic-incentives package that will help The Feil Organization, a New York City-based development-management firm, rebuild the dilapidated site into a 230-unit, transit-oriented rental complex.

The development agency first approved the tax-abatement deal in September and issued its final approval Oct. 1, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the IDA.

The $60.6 million project which faces opposition from some local residents, who cite traffic and other concerns will create the new Woodcrest Village Park on grounds that have been both an eyesore and a property-tax black hole since the 2012 hurricane roared across Long Island. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who has personally toured the site with Nassau IDA Chairman Richard Kessel, said this week it is “vital that properties like this be redeveloped.”

“Transit-oriented development is the key to keeping our communities vibrant and growing,” the county executive noted. “Transforming this property after it [was] destroyed by Superstorm Sandy is a tremendous boost for the area and for Nassau County.

“(The) Woodcrest Village Park project epitomizes my vision for transit-oriented development,” Curran added.

Making a point: Nassau IDA Chairman Richard Kessel (left) and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, both big fans of PILOT revenues.

To clear the way for the project, the Hempstead Town Board in March approved a change-of-zone for the five-acre site, allowing construction of the new, denser building closer to the Long Island Rail Road’s East Rockaway station.

Ten percent of the new apartments will be classified as affordable housing, according to the IDA.

Construction of the new rental complex is expected to begin before the winter of 2019 and is slated to last about 18 months, creating roughly 100 construction jobs during the work and, when all is said and done, seven full-time positions – all told, a $137 million boost to the county economy, according to Nassau IDA projections.

Those handsome numbers, plus Woodcrest Village Park’s proximity to the LIRR station, make the redevelopment project worthy of IDA support and an effective economic-development instrument for the entire region, according to Kessel, the former CEO of both the New York Power Authority and the Long Island Power Authority.

“The Woodcrest project provides affordable housing in a transit-oriented environment that will assist in attracting young people to the county,” Kessel, whom Curran appointed to the Nassau IDA in January, said in a statement. “This represents the future of growing our tax base without raising taxes to residents and businesses.”

Growing the tax base without increasing taxes is especially attractive to the county executive, who noted that even with the IDA tax-abatement package in effect, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes revenue will soon be generated by “a property that currently contributes very little property-tax revenue.”

“It is a wonderful step forward as we continue growing our tax base and finding new ways to increase revenue,” Curran said. “We are thrilled to have the IDA and Feil Properties as partners in this effort.

“The IDA is helping us achieve our development goals.”

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