Nassau IDA gives first approval to talks on potential tax relief for Westbury apartments

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency has granted preliminary approval to begin negotiations for possible tax relief with developers of an 18-unit apartment complex project in downtown Westbury.

Center Moriches-based developers Ornstein Fetner Development LLC and 249 Drexel Associates LLC, whose directors are Alec Ornstein and Cliff Fetner, are proposing to build an 18-unit rental facility with a retail area, which is expected to house a market fish already existing on the property. The IDA Board of Directors approved the resolution at a meeting on March 3.

The developers are asking for sales tax benefits of $224,250 and an exemption of $37,500 on mortgage registration tax. They are also asking for a 25-year PILOT agreement — payment in lieu of taxes — to be negotiated with the IDA. Once negotiations are finalized, the agency will hold a public hearing, officials said.

“The project cannot proceed without these benefits due to a number of factors – high taxes, cost of construction…and also the certainty of having the PILOT schedule in place for lenders lend money,” said Daniel J. Baker, the developer’s real estate attorney. “We are happy that we are moving forward with the process, and I hope my clients will follow the process and be on their way to building the property.”

The $7.5 million project on Drexel Avenue would include bachelor, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and developers said they would incorporate three units below market price. Baker said the facility will also include a lounge, gym and rooftop terrace.

Baker noted that the original plan called for 36 units, but after discussions with village officials, the plan was scaled back. Mayor Peter Cavallaro said it was now “the right size for the plot” after going through several iterations before the village could approve the plans.

“The location is a short walk from our station, so it should be a very attractive option for anyone who works in the city or wants easy access to the LIRR,” Cavallaro said. “The development is also in line with the ongoing downtown revitalization program and will bring new housing options and new residents to our downtown, supporting our downtown businesses.”

The developers plan to start construction in late spring or early summer and said it would take about a year to complete.

Nassau IDA President Richard Kessel noted that with two structures being built by Farmingdale-based developers Terwilliger & Bartone Properties LLC that would create around 130 new apartments, the project is a boost for the village. and its economy.

“Our teams will work together on a cooperative basis, and hopefully this will be an addition to the community that will provide more housing and retail space,” Kessel said. “This project is just going to improve Westbury and make it a major destination point in Nassau County, and if we can help do that, that’s great.”

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