Written By Katherine Alexis Athanasiou
On Thursday, May 6, Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke led the city’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) in a virtual public hearing regarding the development of the Block G area. Georgica Green Ventures LLC (GGV) is a real estate development company specializing in creating more affordable housing units on Long Island and the surrounding regions. While the IDA already approved GGV’s proposed plan for 55 affordable housing units on Glen Cove’s waterfront as well as granting additional financial assistance initially, most recently the developers have submitted an amended application and are requesting “additional exemptions from sales and use taxes, additional exemptions from mortgage recording taxes, and an exemption from real property taxes for a period of 10 years.”
Dan Deegan, an attorney representing the applicant, stated that if executed as expected, the proposed project would “represent a $32 million dollar investment into the Glen Cove Waterfront.” Project funding comes from a mixture of public and private sources, as is common with affordable housing developments. Given the mix of funding sources, including funds from New York State, the project Deegan went on to say, would be under a 50-year regulatory agreement, meaning that the development would need to remain as affordable housing for the next 50 years.
He also reminded viewers that Block G, along with the entire waterfront, is subject to a master tax agreement (MTA), which is already in place. The MTA allowed for a 20-year pilot agreement, in which a $1,000 per unit pilot payment is required, regardless of if the units are affordable housing or luxury units. Deegan stated that $1,000 per unit is “very high for an affordable housing project.” In the past, GGV along with other affordable housing developers typically pay either “half or a quarter of that per unit in order to it affordable.”
There is no denying the impact the pandemic has had on the states’ economy. Deegan stated that due to the state changing the mix of funding sources and an unexpectedly rapid increase in construction costs, they are requesting additional financial assistance. Given new regulations imposed by the state, which requires a 30-year loan in place, the developers have identified a lender for the 30-year loan however the lender requires a 30 year pilot to go along with their loan. The current 20-year pilot is not sufficient to qualify for the lenders loan and thus Georgica Green is “requesting an additional 10 year pilot period.” He also said that while initially the proposed project was estimated to cost around $29 million, due to the increase in general construction costs all around, it is now up to $32 million. For that, Georgica Green Ventures is requesting additional sales and mortgage recording tax exemptions.
After the additional financial assistance was requested, David Gallo, President of Georgica Green Ventures LLC, described the mission of the company to “deliver high quality and sustainable housing” while addressing the need for affordable housing on Long Island. Gallo believes that affordable housing belongs in every community and notes diversity of age, race, religion, and income make our communities better. In addition to providing affordable senior housing across the island, Gallo notes that GGV has developed high-quality housing units for homeless veterans in Coney Island and is currently developing housing units for survivors of domestic violence in Westchester, amongst many other projects.
Mayor Tenke also expressed his sentiments on the build.
“This is the first new project that is coming into Glen Cove that is seeking to build truly affordable housing, which I can tell you from the number of phone calls I get, is very much needed in our city,” he said.
He went on to express that he was not speaking on behalf of the developer, but rather as mayor, affirming, “I am a proponent for affordable housing in Glen Cove.”
While the hearing was open to the public, there were no comments or questions raised by city residents. The next meeting of the IDA will take place on May 20.
—Katherine Alexis Athanasiou is a freelance writer for Anton Media Group