Tax breaks being sought for apartment complex

Blue River Estates in Riverhead
TIM GANNON PHOTO | A rendering of Blue River Estates on display at Monday night’s IDA meeting.

The owners of Blue River Estates, a 48-unit apartment building proposed for downtown Riverhead, will seek tax abatements and other incentives from the town Industrial Development Agency, according to architect Martin Sendlewski.

Mr. Sendlewski addressed the IDA at its meeting on Monday.

A hearing on the application would likely take place in August, IDA officials said.

The Blue River Estates project is being proposed by Brooklyn-based Tricon Development and would involve the purchase and demolition of the building where the Long Island Science Center is located.

The project’s footprint would also stretch into the existing parking lot west of the Science Center on West Main Street.

Tricon’s president, Rafi Weiss, recently announced that Simshabs Capital Partners Ltd., a company that Mr. Weiss leads, has finalized the approximately $10 million in funding for the project, which is being billed as “upscale luxury apartments.”

Mr. Sendlewski made a presentation on Blue River Estates, which will offer one- and two-bedroom apartments, before the Town Board earlier this year.

The IDA can give exemptions on mortgage recording tax, sales tax on building materials used for a construction job, and real estate tax exemptions on the value of the improvements to the property once construction is complete. The standard IDA property tax exemption starts at 50 percent and drops five percent each year over a 10-year period, at which point the property owner would pay full taxes on the land’s assessed value.

The taxes on the land or whatever existed before a project starts is not exempted, and the exemptions only apply to town, county, school district and fire district taxes.

Blue River Estates is the third large apartment complex project proposed for downtown Riverhead.

Summerwind Square on Peconic Avenue is close to opening and will contain 52 affordable apartments. The owner of the former Woolworth building on East Main Street is proposing  about 20 apartments on the second floor of that building, with a gym and retail stores on the first floor.

The Riverhead Enterprises group, which owns many downtown parcels, has also discussed building more than 100 apartments on the site of the former Sears building but has yet to file a formal application.

“This adds to the mix,” Mr. Sendlewski said of Blue River Estates Monday night, and how it fits in with the proposed apartment complexes.

“These are more market rate, upscale rental units,” he added.

Each apartment would have one on-site parking space on the ground level, and each apartment would have one or two bathrooms and a washer and dryer, he said.

The one-bedroom apartments would be between 800 and 900 square feet and the two-bedroom apartments would be between 1,250 and 1,400 square feet, Mr. Sendlewski said.

The tower would be built at an elevation of 10 feet in order to avoid flooding in downtown, he said.

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