It is time to set the record straight about the significant economic benefits that the city will receive due to increased economic activity associated with the Garvies Point Waterfront Project. The project will generate increased tax revenues for the city and school district (and other taxing jurisdictions), create jobs during and after construction and give rise to a new source of residents, visitors and employees, who will spend money and support the downtown businesses.
I am aware of the concerns of some residents expressed at recent board meetings and online. I assure you that the project will yield very positive economic benefits for Glen Cove. My administration will not accept anything else. In addition to the sale price for the property, the city expects to realize about $10 million in new revenues from the redeveloper as a result of assorted fees associated with the project.
Waterfront Project Improved To Increase Public Amenities and Open Spaces
To take a step back, the economic redevelopment of our former industrial, blighted, polluted and underutilized waterfront has been a top priority of multiple city administrations, spanning more than two decades. Everyone knows the property doesn’t do the city any good just sitting idle. It needs to be restored and brought back to productive economic use.
Since taking office, I have worked closely with our redeveloper partner to secure important changes to the overall redevelopment plan, including reducing density (the size and bulk of master plan) on the west side by approximately 22 percent. This change improved visual corridors from Hempstead Harbor and Sea Cliff. It also created room for a new, almost 3-acre Garvies Point Park for the use and enjoyment by the public, in addition to the other approximately 26 acres of public amenities and open spaces. The result is a much improved project, with a substantial amount of programmable public space that will be maintained in perpetuity at no cost to the city.
The city is not alone in its excitement about the benefits of the waterfront project. The project has received widespread recognition. This includes being designated by the LI Economic Development Council and LI Regional Planning Council as a Project of Regional Significance. The project has also been designated by EPA as Brownfield Showcase Community since 1998.
New Jobs, Tax Revenues and Local Spending Among Economic Benefits of Returning Waterfront to Productive Use
The economic benefits of the project were fully studied during the Planning Board’s New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) reviews of the project. The Planning Board found that the project will result in positive economic impacts for the city, both during construction and long-term operation.
To summarize, approximately 466 new jobs (both direct construction jobs and indirect jobs as a result of increased spending in the community) will be generated during the construction phase. There will be millions of dollars in wages for the construction and other workers. The workers, in turn, will spend a large portion of those dollars for daily needs, housing and other retail expenses, thus further supporting our local businesses. The city will also receive significant revenues from a mix of sources including building permits, monies to be repaid to the city by the IDA and CDA and other fees associated with the project that will positively impact the city’s finances.
Long and Short Term Benefits For City
Long-term benefits are also expected once the project is built. The city (and other taxing jurisdictions) will receive significant revenues from real estate property taxes, sales taxes and other revenue sources. These funds will far exceed any increases in expenses to provide municipal services, resulting in a “net tax benefit.” The project will also result in approximately 545 post-construction permanent jobs.
With respect to jobs, it is critical to me that local residents and businesses benefit. Safeguarded in the land development agreement is a best practices clause that requires the redeveloper to make their best effort to pursue and award at least 20 percent of all construction-related and post-construction permanent jobs and construction-related contracts, to qualified city residents and vendors.
Also important is that the sale of the property itself will allow the Industrial Development Agency/Community Development Agency (IDA/CDA) to pay off approximately $8 million remaining on various loans that were obtained to remediate the formerly contaminated industrial site. IDA/CDA needs the sales proceeds to fulfill its repayment obligations under these loans in a timely manner. Indeed, the overall remediation effort, under state and federal environmental programs, has totaled approximately $100 million to date, and has lasted approximately 20 years. These remedial activities will allow our prominent waterfront to be returned to productive economic use.
The new workers and residents will also patronage and support our downtown businesses. The 466 new jobs during the construction phase are anticipated to generate approximately $36 million in earnings annually with a portion being spent in our local economy. After construction, the new jobs and households are expected to generate approximately $22 million in earnings annually. Our local businesses will reap the benefits when a large portion of these wages are spent locally and re-cycled through our local economy. The new residents are anticipated to spend approximately $24 million each year at local businesses in the city.
City and IDA Negotiating Best Financing Deal For City
Finally, the city and IDA will not issue any tax increment financing bonds or consider any PILOTS unless it makes absolute sound financial sense for the city. We have hired a top NYC financial real estate analyst firm to assist us in this mission. I am confident that this public-private project will be a “win-win” for the City of Glen Cove and its residents at every level.
The city is excited about continuing to advance this long-awaited project towards a groundbreaking next spring, revitalizing our abandoned waterfront, and finally bringing this important asset of our community to important economic use.