For the third consecutive meeting of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agnecy, approval resolutions for a four-story mixed-use apartment complex at 733-41 Middle Neck Road in Great Neck were tabled.
The IDA’s agenda for Thursday night’s meeting listed the project, developed by Gesher Center LLC, as subject for an approval resolution for its plans and proposed tax breaks, but the plans were removed from the agenda before the meeting.
Richard Kessel, agency chairman, previously said more conversations were needed between the developer and the public to address concerns about the project.
Efforts to reach IDA officials for comment on the matter were unavailing.
The project is a proposed four-story, mixed-use building that would stand 44 feet high and contain 60 homes – including 56 two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments – along with 93 below-grade parking spaces, a recreation center and a public art gallery. Five buildings riddled with chipped and faded paint currently occupy the space that the plans encompass.
In December 2019, the project started out as a 25-unit complex with 12 incentives later granted by the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees in February 2020.
Village officials later said that the original proposal was withdrawn by the developer, and plans for the 60-unit complex were taken directly to the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals later that year.
With the expansion of the proposal, the project overlapped with the village’s Residence C and Residence E, or apartment, zones.
According to Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral, the project was resubmitted to the zoning board rather than the Board of Trustees due to the zoning approvals that the Board of Trustees could not grant the developer.
“Changing zones is not within the scope of the Board of Trustees and only the Zoning Board of Appeals is able to make those changes,” Bral said in a September interview with Blank Slate Media.
Because the plans were changed, the incentives initially granted by the Board of Trustees became null and void, Bral said.
In March 2021, the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved the site plan for the updated proposal, which also included a meeting room, two recreation rooms and a storage unit on the sub-level floors.
The Board of Trustees approved updated architectural and facade plans for the proposed complex in May. Updates featured French balconies, a more compartmentalized appearance and ornamental lighting on the building’s exterior.
Residents expressed their concerns about the proposed structure to IDA officials during a September meeting at Village Hall. Some spoke about their displeasure with the project and advocated that the developer not be granted any tax breaks in the form of payments in lieu of taxes, also known as PILOT relief.
A week after the meeting at Village Hall, the IDA board addressed the proposal and the various resolutions packaged with it during a public board meeting. The resolutions included a 22-year tax break package, approval for the project under state environmental law and an overall approving resolution.
More information surrounding the tax breaks was not immediately available.
John Farrell, a lawyer for the project’s developer, Gesher Center LLC, said he and the developer were aware of the residents’ concerns but added that the project was something that the village wanted to incorporate into its community during the board’s Sept. 21 meeting.
Farrell told the IDA board that the project does not anticipate more than seven children living in the building. Tondo said that if the building had 10 school-age children, the annual PILOT payments would not cover the cost of those students until 14 years into the PILOT relief the developer seeks.
Carrie-Anne Tondo of Ingerman Smith LLP, representing the Great Neck school district, spoke during the Sept. 21 meeting about the lack of concrete information from the developer on how schools would be affected by the building.
“The payments to the district from the applicant are significantly less than if that property were put onto the tax roll as an approved project,” Tondo said. “Additional analysis concerning costs for projected school-age children was also absent in any of the documents that were submitted.”
The IDA is scheduled to next meet on May 26.