Letter to the Rockville Centre Herald Editor (March 3-9)


RVC development raises questions

To the Editor:

Given that salespersons are prone to “puffery,” we should be wary of claims that the conversion of the former Rockville Centre Diocese headquarters into an office building will deliver “the addition of 223 full-time employees,” as reported in “RVC Diocese headquarters to be transformed into $19M office space” (Feb. 10-16). Especially since the buyer, Philips International, “does not yet have potential tenants,” according to the article.

The Philips deal demands $2.1 million from property taxes and $500,000 from others for a 20-year deal for their “offices.” Given the rapidly rising value of Long Island real estate and associated taxation, this seems very generous. The PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) offset is minimal, short- term and would apply to alternative proposals. Adding the Diocese building to our tax roll is a benefit, but it should not be on discount.

Given the recent decline in the popularity of in-office work in the wake of the pandemic, the plan may not be optimal for Rockville Centre. I hope our leaders, including Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency Executive Fred Parola, RVC Mayor Francis Murray and County Executive Bruce Blakeman will find have gumption to challenge the Philips offer and seek other bids.

In all such deals, the public should know if disbursement of PILOT funds will be per sections 6904/05, and thus counted toward property taxes.

Brian Kelly, Rockville Centre