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Town IDA weighs tax breaks for Roosevelt Ave. apartments

Agency sets hearing date for July 14

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A rendering of the 17-unit luxury apartment building proposed for the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Cochran Place. The developer is seeking tax breaks from the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency, after the village zoning board approved the project over the protests of Nassau County planners.
A rendering of the 17-unit luxury apartment building proposed for the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Cochran Place. The developer is seeking tax breaks from the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency, after the village zoning board approved the project over the protests of Nassau County planners.
Courtesy Kay Development

The Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency is considering tax breaks, including a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement, for a proposed $5 million, 17-unit luxury apartment development slated for the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Cochran Place.

It is latest development in the apartment proposal, iterations of which over the past year and a half have been making their way in fits and starts through county and village planning agencies. In addition to a PILOT agreement, the applicant, Vantage on Roosevelt LLC, is seeking sales and mortgage recording tax exemptions. The project falls within the taxing jurisdiction of School District 24, and the town IDA has scheduled a hearing date on the proposal for July 14 at 10 a.m.

Tax breaks for the nearly 15,000-square-foot project are estimated at roughly $3.4 million over the life of the agreement, according to a cost-benefit analysis submitted to the IDA. The same report indicates that, including construction, the project would generate nearly $7.5 million in economic activity during the 15-year agreement period, including more than $1 million in property-tax revenue.

With a 15-year agreement, the proposal deviates from the IDA’s tax-break policy that was adopted in February, which calls for a 10-year schedule. In its public hearing notice, the agency said the project would need a longer schedule for it to be economically viable.

The property is now a privately owned parking lot operated by Valley Stream-based Valley Parking Inc., and the company is due to pay a total of $32,165 in general, school and village taxes for 2020, according to county and village tax rolls. Once the apartments are built, taxes on the property would be around $85,000 a year, according to the proposal abstract. It was unclear from the report, however, whether that figure includes the proposed tax breaks.

In his application, real estate developer Vassilios Kefalas, who owns a 100 percent stake in Vantage, said construction would not move forward without an agreement, which could, he said, impact further developments in the neighborhood.

Kefalas, operating through another real estate company, Kay Development LLC, of which he is the principal and founder, is also the owner and developer behind the 43-unit luxury mixed-use Promenade on Central Avenue, which opened earlier this year.

The Roosevelt and Cochran proposal has gone through a number of iterations since it was first submitted in late 2018, coming before the Nassau County Planning Commission three times and the village Board of Zoning Appeals twice. County planners repeatedly raised concerns about a lack of an affordable housing in the proposal as well as a density that is nearly double what is allowed in village code, and a shortfall in required parking, and expressed worry whether it complied with the 2008 Long Island Workforce Housing Act.

Kefalas said he was not interested in building affordable housing; however, speaking before the village zoning board, William Florio, a facilitator for the project, said he would work out a fee structure with the village to go toward affordable housing initiatives elsewhere in the village and ensure the apartments complied with the Workforce Housing Act.

School District 24 officials raised concerns about overcrowding in local schools because of the project. Residents, speaking before the zoning board, also blasted the proposal as potentially causing more traffic and dramatically altering the character of the surrounding neighborhood.