Hearing set on tax breaks for downtown Riverhead apartments

12/01/2014 1:19 PM |
BARBARAELLEN KOCH | The Long Island Science Center would move if apartments get built.

The Long Island Science Center would move if apartments get built. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Tax breaks for a plan to build an apartment building in the current spot of the Long Island Science Center downtown will be the subject of a public hearing at Riverhead’s Industrial Development Agency meeting tonight.

The hearing will be held at 5 p.m. in Riverhead Town Hall.

Peconic Crossing LLC’s is seeking tax incentives, including a partial real estate tax exemption, on a 48-unit affordable apartment building it’s proposing for the West Main Street property, just west of Peconic Avenue.

The existing Long Island Science Center building at 11 West Main Street would be demolished and replaced with a five-story building that will have parking on the ground floor and 48 “workforce housing” units on the upper floors.

If a deal goes through, the nonprofit Science Center plans to use the proceeds from the sale of the building to move into another building farther east on Main Street.

Peconic Crossing’s $16.7 million project was originally proposed as a for-profit apartment complex by a Brooklyn group called Simshabs X, and that group also sought IDA incentives. The project was originally called Blue River Estates.

Since then, the project has been taken over by Peconic Crossing LLC, which is a joint venture between the nonprofit Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Inc. and Rochester-based Conifer Realty.

The building would contain affordable units, rather than luxury units.

Peconic Crossings is seeking tax breaks on sales taxes associated with building materials for the construction, and on mortgage recording taxes, according to the application.

They also are seeking a property tax break on the increased value of the property due to the construction.

Marianne Garvin, the president and CEO of the CDC, said at a previous IDA meeting that the amount of the property tax break would be negotiated with the IDA.

The IDA’s uniform tax exemption policy calls for a 10-year abatement starting at 50 percent of the increased property value, and dropping five percent per year, although it is subject to change at times.

At an IDA meeting last month, Allen Handelman, Conifer’s vice president of development, said the project is expected to create 50 to 60 construction jobs, though only two full-time employees once the apartments are built.

Under the Peconic Crossings plan, rents are projected to range from $960 to $1,060 per month for one-bedroom apartments, and from $1,150 to $1,250 per month for two-bedroom units, according to Ms. Garvin.

Rent includes heat and hot water, she said, though tenants are responsible pay for electricity.

Applicants must meet income guidelines, with the maximum incomes for a single person being $44,000, Mr. Handelman said.

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