Long Island Cheat Sheet: Amazon’s LIC withdrawal causes development concerns, Central Islip rental project secures $65M in financing… & more

Feb.February 18, 2019 10:30 AM

Clockwise from top left: Officials worry that Amazon pullout could damage Long Island development prospects, Jerry Wolkoff sues Suffolk County over a sewer connection to his massive Heartland Town Square development in Brentwood, Hamptons developer Joe Farrell gets $65M to build Central Islip rentals and Amneal Pharmaceuticals signs a lease with Rechler Equity on a building in Yaphank.

Amazon pullout could hurt Long Island development
Economic officials on Long Island are worried that Amazon’s surprise decision to not build its second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, will have a chilling effect on out-of-state businesses pursuing new development in the region, Newsday reported. “Some people will equate Long Island with having made this big mistake,” William Mannix, executive director of the Islip Town Industrial Development Agency, told the outlet. Mannix and other economic leaders in Nassau and Suffolk counties now want to pursue a more proactive response. “We need a regional marketing voice, a campaign to get the message out that Long Island is still open for business,” Mannix said. He believes government must partner with the business community to better communicate the benefits of mega-projects and the tax incentives often needed to lure them. Amazon’s decision, which has dismayed the real estate sector in New York City, is already having an impact on Long Island. Richard Kessel, chair of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, said the municipality may still grant tax breaks to a New Hyde Park housing project that would’ve been perfect for Amazon employees, but it will be more cautious about helping companies in the future. Officials pointed to a bill in the state legislature that could raise construction costs as another potentially damaging blow to New York’s reputation. The bill would force companies to pay the prevailing wage on projects funded by grants and tax breaks. [Newsday]

Hamptons builder Joe Farrell gets $65M for 268-unit Central Islip rental project
Webster Bank and RXR Realty have teamed up to loan $65 million to prolific Hamptons builder Joe Farrell to finance the building of a 268-unit rental building on 30 acres in Central Islip, according to The Real Deal. The project at 300 Carleton Avenue is slated to open in 2021. When complete, the development will have a fitness center, co-working space, outdoor space and a children’s playground. The project would be the fifth building that Farrell’s rental division has begun since 2016. Farrell, who last year listed his own Hamptons home for nearly $50 million, has recently been trying to branch out from the East End’s mansion market to pursue multifamily projects in Long Island and upstate New York. A luxury apartment building he put up in Newburgh will begin leasing in 2019 .The developer also has rental projects in Fishkill and Smithtown and claims to have built 400 projects over the past two decades. [TRD]

Jerry Wolkoff sues Suffolk County over sewer connection to his massive Heartland Town Square development
Developer Jerry Wolkoff has filed a $15 million lawsuit that he hopes will force Suffolk County to connect his Heartland Town Square mega-project to the Southwest Sewer District, according to Newsday. Wolkoff, who is behind the controversial 5Pointz development in Queens, has previously expressed frustration about opposition to Heartland Town Square, which has yet to build anything in 15 years. The litigation comes after the Suffolk legislature’s public works committee in September failed to discharge without recommendation a bill to permit connecting the Brentwood mega-project to the sewers. Wolkoff believes the committee acted illegally, improperly and “in excess of the committee’s jurisdiction and authority,” according to his complaint. In Wolkoff’s view, the public works commissioner has the power to negotiate a deal and should do so, regardless of the committee’s ruling. The developer is also asking for $15 million in damages due to the delays and his now-diminished commercial reputation. The project, when complete in about 30 years, is expected to stretch across 452 acres with roughly 9,000 residential units, 3.4 million square feet of office space and 1 million square feet of retail space. Wolkoff hopes Heartland will attract “empty nesters and millennials.” Some believe Wolkoff should simply build his own sewer plant, but the developer said he can’t do so because it would be too close to a sensitive oak brush plain. Suffolk has until March 5 to respond to the lawsuit. [Newsday]

Amneal signs leases with Rechler Equity on Yaphank building
Amneal Pharmaceuticals signed two long-term leases at 19 Nicholas Drive in Yaphank to expand its office, warehouse and distribution operations across another 147,978 square feet, Long Island Business News reported. The company, which is one of the largest domestic drug makers, currently operates out of a 410,000-square-foot building at 50 Horseblock Road, which is also in Yaphank. Amneal 
plans to bring to the site some of the manufacturing that had been run out of its California facilities. Some of the warehousing operations currently done on Horseblock Road will move to the company’s facility at Nicholas Drive. The town of Brookhaven’s Industrial Development Agency helped the expansion by giving Amneal economic incentives, which the company had asked for last year. In the lease deal, Amneal was represented by Richard Cohen of Ashlind Properties. The landlord, Rechler Equity Partners, was served in-house by Ted Trias and Chris Costa. [LIBN]

Pioneering developer Erwin Staller dies at 97
Real estate developer Erwin Staller, a Long Island native, died at his home on Feb. 11, Newsday reported. He was 97. Staller grew up in Hempstead and co-founded the Hauppauge-based real estate development firm Staller Associates with his father, Max, in the 1950s. The company became an early pioneer of shopping center developments on Long Island before moving into industrial and office projects. Staller worked at the firm until 2017. Staller was known also for his philanthropy and gave millions to Stony Brook University. He was also an emeritus trustee of the Stony Brook Foundation and was the founding chair of Stony Brook Foundation Realty, university officials said. Staller, who broke records as a scuba diver, is survived by his wife of nearly 73 years, Pearl “Freddie” Staller, and their four children: Cary, Eric, Jan and Kim. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Tina. Relatives plan to hold a memorial service at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University. [Newsday]

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