The Real Deal New York

Long Island Cheat Sheet: Nassau’s Laura Curran discusses development and Airbnb, environmental review delays Belmont Park project… & more

By Aidan Gardiner | February 25, 2019 12:00PM

Clockwise from top left: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran talks with TRD about property tax assessments and Airbnb, an environmental review delays the $1.18B Belmont Park arena project, Riverhead extends the closing deadline for the $40 million sale of the Enterprise Park at Calverton and Hempstead’s IDA gives incentives to an Island Park apartment project.

Laura Curran talks about property tax assessments, Airbnb
In her first year in office, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran helmed the county’s property tax reassessment, ousted a developer on the $1 billion Nassau Hub project and barred her appointees from donating to her campaign or leading any political party. But she’s only getting started, Curran said in a recent chat with The Real Deal. Curran conceded that the controversial reassessment process hasn’t been perfect. “We’ve had some bumps in the road,” she said. “Any problem you avoid for too long, it’s going to be messy, and it has been a bit messy.” Curran plans to “hire scores of new people… because we need people there doing the work.” The increased staffing, she hopes, will help bring some fairness to property taxes. In a wide-ranging conversation with TRD for its inaugural tri-state issue, Curran defended her actions with respect to the Nassau Hub project, talked about taxing Airbnb and discussed her decision to give up a career in journalism for one in politics. [TRD]

Environmental review delays $1.18B Belmont Park arena project
Officials with Empire State Development hope they can issue their final environmental impact statement on the proposed $1.18 billion Belmont Park arena project by the end of June, but doing so would push the start of any construction into the summer, Long Island Business News reported. The organization’s board also voted to extend the contract of the review firm AKRF through September 2020, with the project’s developers being asked to pay for the extension. Those developers, who operate under the moniker New York Arena Partners, include the Oak View Group, Sterling Equities and the Scott Malkin Group. The developers had hoped to break ground in May so the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders could play their 2021 season at the arena. (The Islanders returned to Nassau County in December after a few years at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.) The project, when complete, will have a 19,000-seat arena, 250-room hotel and a 435,000-square-foot retail village. Empire State Development received more than 2,000 letters opposed to the project, which has made finalizing the environmental impact statement difficult, officials said. [LIBN]

Developer ditches $75M Lynbrook apartment project amid political outcry
Terwilliger & Bartone Properties will abandon its plan to build the Cornerstone at Lynbrook, a $75 million transit-oriented rental complex, according to Newsday. The 200-apartment project was opposed by neighbors and its application was rejected in November by the Lynbrook Village board of trustees. “The vote by the mayor and trustees last November against our application is a clear indication that the size and scope of the project is too large,” said Anthony Bartone, managing partner of Terwilliger & Bartone. He criticized the project’s opponents, the Preserve Lynbrook Party, for spreading “ridiculous allegations” about the proposed development that had “no factual basis.” “We will not resubmit unless the project is significantly smaller than our previous proposal, and only after community feedback from residents,” Bartone added. Deputy Mayor Hilary Becker, a member of the Preserve Lynbrook Party, is also trying to unseat the village’s current mayor, Alan Beach. “[I’m] glad to see the developer is finally making it public that he’s only now pulling out of our village,” Becker told Newsday. “But nothing stops the developer and Alan Beach from doing a 360 and steering this no-bid project back after Election Day.” [Newsday]

Riverhead extends deadline for $40 million Enterprise Park deal
The Riverhead Town Board narrowly voted that Calverton Aviation and Technology could extend its previous Feb. 19 deadline to close or opt out of its $40 million deal to acquire more than 1,600 acres of land at the Enterprise Park in Calverton, Newsday reported. The deal’s backers, a partnership between Luminati Aerospace and an aviation subsidiary of Canada’s Triple Five Group, now have 90 more days to complete “due diligence” on the property. Stuart Bienenstock, director of business development for Triple Five, said the would-be buyers are still working on “comprehensive programming” for the site, but he declined to elaborate on those plans. Bienenstock said he and his partners will release specifics in the coming weeks. As part of the deadline extension, Calverton Aviation and Technology has to pay $500,000 to Riverhead, which will put that money into an escrow account tied to the Enterprise Park and Riverhead’s Community Development Agency. [Newsday]

Hempstead IDA gives incentives to Island Park apartment project
The Town of Hempstead’s Industrial Development Agency voted to give economic incentives to a proposed 172-unit waterfront rental apartment complex slated for Island Park, LIBN reported. AvalonBay Communities, a Virginia-based real estate investment trust that has been an active developer on Long Island, plans to redevelop the 11.6-acre site. Farmingdale-based Posillico bought the land, a former oil facility, in a bankruptcy auction for $2.4 million in 1999. The company wanted to build condos on the site and even received approvals from Hempstead in 2008, but then halted the project due to the onset of the global financial crisis shortly thereafter. Posillico partnered with AvalonBay in 2012, changing the plan to instead build 140 rental apartments and 32 condos. Hempstead shot down that proposal a year later, only to have the New York State Supreme Court reverse the town’s decision in a 2015 ruling. AvalonBay went into contract to buy the land last year, although Posillico will need to start cleaning up the site this year, a process that must be completed before any construction can proceed. [LIBN]