120 luxury condos planned for Cold Spring Country Club land next to Oheka Castle

The Cold Spring Country Club adjacent to Oheka Castle in Huntington is in contract to sell 13 acres of its property to a developer who plans to build 120 luxury condominium units at the site.

Geoff Thompson, a representative for Brooklyn-based developer FBE, told Newsday his client plans to build two- and three-bedroom condominiums in a four-story, 340,000-square-foot building, with underground parking.

The developer has “met preliminarily” with Huntington Town officials to discuss the proposal, Thompson said Monday. “They have not yet filed a subdivision, or site plan or documents, but they anticipate doing that in the next two months.”

Thompson said it’s too early to know the pricing on the housing units at the development, called The Residences at Cold Spring. He declined to say how much FBE will pay for the land. The plan will preserve the golf course and the open space, he said.

Cold Spring Country Club representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2012, castle owner Gary Melius first proposed building a 190-unit senior community on part of the Oheka property and on a parcel owned by the Cold Spring Country Club. That deal fell apart.

In 2020, Melius withdrew another application from the town to build 90 condominiums in a four-story stone building with parking underneath on the lower portion of the castle’s front lawn.

He said at the time it was to make “sure I have all my ducks in order.”

Melius told Newsday he is aware of the FBE proposal and questions whether it can be approved at the proposed height and density.

“I think they have a better chance at winning Lotto than getting that approved by the town,” he said Tuesday.

Melius said he plans to submit a new application to the town to build a 95-unit community on Oheka property sometime in the next week.

He said he’s confident about his latest proposal because Oheka Castle has a preliminary agreement with Nassau County for sewer connection that still needs approval by the full county legislature. The agreement would be an important component for development in the area.

“I’ll withdraw it [the sewer connection agreement] if I have to,” he said. “But most importantly, I have the support of the civic association. I’ve been here 38 years. They know me.”

The Cold Spring Hills Civic Association Inc., which represents homeowners in the neighborhood, supported Melius’ first proposal but had concerns about his scaled-down 2020 plan.

Gayle Snyder, chair of the executive board of the civic association, said the board supported Melius’ original proposal because it saved Oheka Castle from “financial ruin” and preserved the open space of the golf club.

The FBE plan does neither, Snyder said. “This plan does nothing to help Cold Spring Hills.”

Thompson said FBE has properties throughout the metropolitan area and has developed or codeveloped two multifamily properties in past years. The company also has developed “significant” office and industrial properties, he said.

Article: https://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/condos-cold-spring-hills-country-club-oheka-castle-lt20ou6s

Suffolk IDA awards tax breaks to one warehouse but makes no decision on another

In 30 minutes, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency approved millions of dollars in tax breaks for one warehouse project but couldn’t muster the votes to decide the fate of another.

The warehouses differ in size and the number of employees that would work in them.

But the projects are similar in many ways: Both are from large development companies that are relatively new to Long Island. They would be located in the county’s western half. Neither yet has tenants. The warehouse workers would earn about $40,000 per year.

The IDA board voted unanimously last week to give final approval for $2.4 million in tax breaks to the Venture One Real Estate LLC warehouse in Hauppauge. However, there weren’t the necessary four votes to grant or deny final approval for $8.7 million in tax breaks to the Hartz Mountain Industries Inc. warehouse on Spagnoli Road in Melville.

The Hartz project was supported by three board members and opposed by two. So, the resolution neither passed nor failed, said IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano.

The seven-member board has one vacancy and one member did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

In voting against Hartz, IDA board member Joshua Slaughter said he needed more financial information from the New Jersey-based developer to determine whether tax breaks are required to build the 411,000-square-foot warehouse.

Board member Brian Beedenbender agreed, saying he wasn’t certain the $106 million project depended on IDA assistance. He said Hartz purchased the former National Grid training site for $37 million in 2019, before the pandemic and rising inflation.

“I still think [the warehouse] gets built anyway,” Beedenbender said.

Hartz executive James Rhatican responded, “I can’t say that it would or would not get built but for this [tax-aid package]. But I can tell you that these incentives … [will] bring tenants to the area” because the $5.2 million in property-tax savings over 15 years would lead to lower rents, he said.

On Friday, Rhatican told Newsday that Hartz is “disappointed that the motion to approve the incentives for this project didn’t carry.” But he said the company would hold talks with the IDA staff “to see if there is a path forward on the application.”

Between 200 and 300 people would eventually work at the proposed warehouse, according to Rhatican.

Hartz first sought the IDA’s help for the Spagnoli Road project a year ago, as the developer was embroiled in controversy with local unions over the use of out-of-state contractors and construction workers to build two warehouses at 235 Pinelawn Rd.

That project, on the site of the former Newsday headquarters, won nearly $17 million in tax breaks over 20 years in a 4-2 vote by the IDA board in November 2020.

More recently, Hartz appeared to have made peace with the unions and the IDA voted unanimously in April to grant preliminary approval for a tax-aid package for the Spagnoli Road warehouse.

Separately, the tax savings approved for the Venture One warehouse will last for 10 years.

The 90,700-square-foot facility, costing $44 million, would replace a vacant office building at 49 Wireless Blvd. Between 30 and 100 people would eventually work there, said Brian McDonagh, Northeast regional vice president at Venture One, which is based in a Chicago suburb.

Article: https://www.newsday.com/business/ida-tax-breaks-warehouse-hartz-mountain-venture-one-udte9bva

Melville’s thriving mix of commercial, residential

A former farming community, Melville is a thriving commercial and residential hamlet whose farming roots are still evident in the horse farms in the West Hills area and at the perennially popular White Post Farms.

From 1909 to 1919, a trolley traversed Route 110, and was shuttered only after farmers complained that the noise disturbed their livestock.

Today, the area is known for the 110 corridor, a 16-mile stretch with a section in Melville that includes office parks, the headquarters for Canon, Henry Schein and other major corporations, and an Amazon facility under construction.

The corridor is ever expanding, with a range that include many stores in a swath known as Furniture Alley, and a fair number of restaurants, all of which contribute significantly to the area’s tax base, says David Gustin, president of the Melville Chamber of Commerce.

“The 110/Broadhollow Road corridor connects Amityville to Melville to Huntington, as one of the most populated areas of the Suffolk community,” says Gustin.

Calling Melville “a beautiful and peaceful neighborhood,” Nikki Perri, an agent with Signature Premier Properties, says, “You will immediately notice the wide, tree-lined streets. This neighborhood is perfectly located near restaurants, shopping, parks, and is only a short drive to some of Long Island’s most beautiful beaches.”

In addition to several gated communities, there are many Colonials and ranches and a few contemporary homes in the area, with prices starting in the mid $500,000s and going up to about $5 million.

The hamlet is also home to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a sprawling, ornate Hindu temple, that opened in 2016.

Melville’s central location and proximity to the Long Island Expressway and the Northern State, Sagtikos and Southern State parkways is a big plus, notes Town of Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth.

“If you’re a commuter, it’s a great place because you have very easy access to the major east-west and north-south arteries on Long Island,” he says.

Article: https://www.newsday.com/classifieds/real-estate/buying-in-melviille-rn9o3asx

Rising interest rates will dampen city’s investment sales market this year

Activity in New York City’s investment sales market continued to rebound in the first quarter of 2022, but a slowdown could be on the horizon as rising rates drive up borrowers’ costs.

Dealmakers bought and sold 582 properties in the quarter, a year-over-year jump of 53 percent, according to a report by Ariel Property Advisors. Those transactions totaled $8.9 billion, a whopping 320 percent increase from the first quarter of last year and roughly in line with the first quarter of 2019.

Still, nearly half of those closings went into contract at the tail end of 2021, when the city saw a dramatic acceleration in investment sales, Ariel president Shimon Shkury said. The $15.6 billion worth of deals that closed in the fourth quarter — a three-year high — represented both an anomaly and a symptom of Covid’s lingering effects on the market, Shkury added, predicting that activity could slow in the second half of the year now that low pandemic-era interest rates are rising again.

“The first quarter marks a drastic change in the cost of debt and the expectation is that interest rates will continue to rise,” Shkury said. “As a result, we expect momentum to continue in the second quarter as both buyers and sellers rush to complete transactions, but we also expect the second half of the year to be somewhat slower.”

Investment in warehouses and other industrial properties have increased significantly, with 43 deals combining for $548 million, compared to just $164 million across 42 deals in the same period a year ago.

The multifamily market also continued to show signs of strength in the first quarter, with $3.2 billion worth of deals compared to $844 million a year ago.

Of the four boroughs covered in the report (Staten Island was excluded), Manhattan saw the largest year-over-year increases in deal and dollar volume, with 88 properties fetching $5.4 billion, a 676 percent increase from $696.4 million across just 39 deals in the first quarter of 2021. Those first-quarter figures paled in comparison to the fourth quarter, however, when 132 properties sold for a combined $8.5 billion.

The amount spent on multifamily properties citywide rose to $3.2 billion across 359 deals in the quarter, up from $843.7 million across 199 deals a year ago. In Manhattan, that number jumped 392 percent to $1.6 billion, from $329.4 million last year, while the number of deals increased 140 percent.

Article: https://therealdeal.com/2022/05/20/rising-interest-rates-will-dampen-citys-investment-sales-market-this-year/

Discounter nicknamed ‘Kosher Costco’ plans Long Island entry

A discount grocer nicknamed the “Kosher Costco” is headed to Long Island.

Bingo Wholesale plans to open a store in the Burnside Commons shopping center in Inwood, in a space that a Stop & Shop supermarket vacated in 2020.

“I want to … bring our wholesale prices in the supermarket business to that community,” said David Weiss, a principal at Bingo Wholesale.

Having leased 61,669 square feet at 603 Burnside Ave., Bingo Wholesale would be the largest tenant in the 100,219-square-foot Burnside Commons, according to Urban Edge Properties, the Manhattan-based real estate investment trust that owns the shopping center.

Both Urban Edge and Weiss declined to say when the new store is expected to open.

Bingo Wholesale has three stores, the first of which opened in Brooklyn in 2016. The other two stores are in Lakewood, New Jersey, and Spring Valley, New York, which is in Rockland County.

The retailer is affiliated with Osher Ad, a chain of 20 supermarkets in Israel.

Bingo Wholesale sells groceries, small appliances and other household goods.

“It’s [like a warehouse] club without paying membership,” Weiss said.

The retailer will bring a new concept to the area in response to high demand, Scott Auster, senior vice president and head of leasing at Urban Edge, said in a statement.

“A large-format kosher grocer with great prices is an ideal use for the local community and complements other essential offerings in the center,” he said.

Kosher food is defined as meeting the requirements of Jewish dietary law.

Kosher restrictions include not consuming meat that comes from animals that do not have split hoofs and do not chew their cud. Also, seafood that lacks fins and scales is prohibited.

One of the reasons Inwood was chosen for Bingo Wholesale’s new store is that it has a high percentage of Jewish residents, Weiss said.

Inwood and four other communities — Cedarhurst, Lawrence, Hewlett and Woodmere — informally comprise the Five Towns, in southwest Nassau County..

The Five Towns’ percentage of Jewish residents, an estimated 80%, is higher than anywhere else on Long Island, Rabbi Zalman Wolowik, director of Chabad of the Five Towns, a Cedarhurst-based community social services center that includes a synagogue, told Newsday in 2020.

The Stop & Shop that was in Inwood relocated 1.3 miles away to Woodmere in October 2020.

The 20-year-old store was moved because its lease was expiring and Stop & Shop wanted to expand the store’s offerings, which included a large selection of kosher products, the retailer said.

Holdout threatens massive Long Island development

A developer may be forced to pump the brakes on a massive mixed-use project in Ronkonkoma, as a bus company owner is refusing to yield to an attempted seizure by eminent domain.

A depot operated by charter bus company North Fork Express stands in the way of the second phase of Tritec Real Estate’s $750 million Ronkonkoma Hub project, according to Newsday. Tritec has asked the Brookhaven Town Industrial Development Agency to condemn the depot, which sits on a 2.2-acre site on Hawkins Avenue near MacArthur Airport and Ronkonkoma’s Long Island Rail Road Station.

The IDA will hold a virtual public hearing on the issue Wednesday.

Municipalities use eminent domain when attempting to seize a property for a public purpose, such as parks or affordable housing. The Fifth Amendment requires municipalities to give owners “just compensation” for seized properties.

North Fork Express owner Greg Mensch said he could be willing to negotiate, but isn’t happy with the offer he’s received from Tritec.

“They want to give you what they want to give you and that’s it,” Mensch told Newsday. “They’re taking private property and they, the town, want to give it to a private developer.”

A spokesperson for Tritec said the firm prefers to negotiate.

Both sides have leverage. On the one hand, the town can seize the property and pay fair market value determined by an appraiser, which would result in Mensch losing the property, perhaps for less than he’d want for it. But Mensch could mount a legal defense and drag out the eminent domain process, driving up the project’s costs.

The initial phase of the Ronkonkoma Hub project wrapped up two years ago and the first tenants moved in three years ago. The second phase is expected to add 388 residential units, 74,000 square feet of retail, 17,000 square feet of offices and a village square for events.

Should it be completed, the development would contain 1,450 apartments, 195,000 square feet of retail and 360,000 square feet of offices.

In December, the IDA approved condemning more than a dozen properties, mostly small businesses, for the project. When the project was approved in 2014, the town and Tritec had said they had no plans to use eminent domain to acquire properties, according to Newsday.

Article: https://therealdeal.com/2022/05/17/holdout-threatens-massive-long-island-development/

Preservationists and developers duel upstate. Wanna guess who’s winning?

Rural New York has become a battleground between preservationists and luxury developers, and local officials have been siding with the builders.

As New Yorkers migrate from the city to secondary home markets upstate, developers have planned housing for them. In their corner have been local governments seeking broader tax bases, not to mention new blood to keep their towns going.

Historic preservation commissions, meanwhile, have been scrambling to slow down projects, but sometimes getting shut down themselves, according to the New York Times.

In Durham, for example, a development called Bosque is facing backlash. The project would convert an undeveloped area of Cornwallville, a historic hamlet, into a large-lot subdivision with a cul-de-sac and houses that start at about $1.6 million.

Sixty neighbors have gathered as the Cornwallville Residents for Rural Preservation, opposing the development. Among their concerns are that the project would damage the area’s ecosystem and that the developer lacks experience, the Times reported.

However, the Durham Town Board completed a mandatory preliminary environmental study, which led them to decide that Bosque would not have significant adverse impacts on the area. The group is now suing the developer and the board to force a reversal. Despite the lawsuit, in April the town voted unanimously to give Bosque preliminary approval to proceed.

Bosque’s developer, Preston Jones, told the newspaper that his development would take many precautions including using low-carbon building materials, relying on solar power, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and turning the felled trees — which make up 25 percent of the area’s forest — into biochar, a charcoal-like material that improves soil health.

“I mean, we spent a week digging holes to make sure there were no Native American artifacts there,” Jones told the paper. “Dealing with the historic preservation commission was not like dealing with a neutral body. They acted like the opposition.”

Some residents are in support. Claudia Zucker, the real estate broker who sold Jones the 95-acre site, called the project “a wonderful thing.”

“I am on the Board of Ed, and I want more families to come here, I want more tax base for the school,” Zucker told the publication.

Article: https://therealdeal.com/2022/05/15/preservationists-and-developers-duel-upstate-wanna-guess-whos-winning/

Supplier of industrial chemicals plans $10 million expansion in Great Neck

A supplier of industrial chemicals and minerals plans to expand in Great Neck instead of moving out of state, spending $10 million for a larger headquarters, executives said.

Wego Chemical Group wants to purchase and renovate a 27,170-square-foot office building at 277 Northern Blvd. The company would eventually occupy about 80% of the space, the executives said.

Last month, Wego won final approval for 20 years of tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

The aid package consists of a sales-tax exemption of up to $241,500 on the purchase of construction materials and equipment and up to $56,250 off the mortgage recording tax. Property taxes on the Northern Blvd. building are $216,280 and the tax rate will be frozen for four years followed by 2% increases in each of the following 16 years.

Without the tax incentives, family-owned Wego said it  couldn’t expand on Long Island. The company has outgrown its 12,885 square feet at 239 Great Neck Rd., which is less than one mile from the proposed new headquarters, according to president Bert Eshaghpour.

“We love where we are,” he told the IDA board in March, referring to Great Neck. “A lot of our competitors from the tristate area moved to Florida or North Carolina as they were growing … Our choice is to stay here, with your help.”

In return for the tax breaks, Wego has pledged to add 23 jobs to its work force of 77 people in Great Neck.

Besides its Great Neck headquarters, the 44-year-old company has more than 30 warehouses around the world and offices in Brazil, China, Mexico, the Netherlands and Turkey.

The chemicals that it sells are primarily made in Asia.

A subsidiary, Wego International Floors, also in Great Neck, specializes in wood flooring.

Daniel P. Deegan, the company’s real estate attorney, said it would gradually occupy the Northern Boulevard building as existing tenants’ leases expire.

IDA chairman Richard Kessel said “one of the missions [of the agency] is to keep companies here, to keep jobs here. We want to help this company to grow in Nassau County,” he said last month.

Article: https://www.newsday.com/business/wego-chemicals-great-neck-ida-tax-breaks-utxe2d8u

Beechwood plans multifamily project for 55 acres in Elwood

The Beechwood Organization is pitching a plan to build 385 townhomes on 55 acres of vacant land in Elwood. 

The company has applied to the Town of Huntington for a zoning change that would allow for the development of the proposed community called Country Pointe Elwood, which would be restricted to people age 55 and over. 

The property just east of Manor Road on Jericho Turnpike had been the site of a proposed mixed-use project from Great Neck-based developer Kris Torkan, who withdrew his application for a zoning change in 2018 after pushback from community groups. 

Torkan’s $100 million plan, called Elwood Orchard would have created a 470,000-square-foot retail and office complex on nearly half of the property owned by the Mediavilla family, much of which has operated as an orchard for more than half a century. The project would have replaced a small four-store strip center on the corner of the property and large sand hills that have been mostly used by dirt bikers and ATV riders. 

Beechwood’s zoning change application for the Elwood site comes on the heels of a statement released earlier this week from Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth about curbing development in the town. 

“I campaigned for the supervisor’s office on many issues, including stopping the overdevelopment of Huntington. In 2020, I co-sponsored a measure limiting the expansion of multi-story apartment development in our downtown areas,” Smyth said in the statement. “The town cannot stop property owners from asking for a zoning change or a new use for their property, however the town has no obligation to advance any proposal.” 

However, Beechwood principal Steven Dubb said he doesn’t think Smyth’s statement was directed at his company’s plan. 

“He wants to stop overdevelopment. I don’t think our application falls into the bucket of overdevelopment,” Dubb told LIBN. “The existing zoning of the property is residential, and we are proposing a type of residential use that we think is better suited and more needed by town residents than the existing residential zoning.” 

Dubb continued that the Beechwood plan would be less intensive for the area than the project that Torkan had pitched. 

“It’s going to be, from a traffic perspective, far less traffic than the prior proposal,” Dubb said. “From a school tax point of view, the development would provide millions of dollars a year in school taxes to the school district without providing any additional burden to the school district with any additional children. By and large, I feel that this type of age-restricted housing is desperately needed on Long Island. I don’t think what we’re doing is overdevelopment, I think it’s smart development.” 

Dubb added that the company will be reaching out to the Elwood community on its proposal. 

“We’re going to have extensive meetings with the community and get their input and that will shape our application,” he said. “This isn’t done in a vacuum.” 

Article: https://libn.com/2022/05/06/beechwood-plans-multifamily-project-for-55-acres-in-elwood/

Boardy Barn, famed Hampton Bays beer tavern, sold

The owners and real estate brokers confirmed the sale Thursday of the Hampton Bays’ famed beer tavern, the Boardy Barn, casting doubt on its future and perhaps ending an era of more than 50 years of revelry on the East End.

The bar, which opened in 1970 and typically would be open Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, closed last summer for what may have been its last party. Long Island’s other “ol’ barn” was put up for sale in October, and a sale closed for an undisclosed price Thursday.

“To our beloved family, employees, customers, partners and community: Mickey Shields and Tony Galgano first opened the barn doors on April 16, 1970. From that day forward, the Boardy Barn became better and more unique the moment each of you passed through those doors,” the former owners posted on their website and Facebook page Thursday. “We are deeply grateful for the memories we hold in our hearts. … We wish the new owners all the best as they work to determine what the property will become. … Don’t Stop Believin’ ”

Joe Lopresti, vice president of Jones Lang Lasalle’s Brokerage Service Group, said the sale closed Thursday with an unnamed buyer.

Brokers did not say how much the buyers paid for the 2.6-acre property at 270 W. Montauk Hwy.

Lopresti said he did not know the owners’ plans for the property or if the barn would continue in any form.

“The buyer believes in the future of the Hampton Bays and the future of the property,” Lopresti said. “I believe the family and everyone involved was happy with the transaction.”

Michael Galgano, the son of former owner Anthony Galgano, could not be reached for comment.

Anthony Galgano died in November at the age of 78. Family members did not give an update on plans for the property following his death, saying only “it was in God’s hands.”

The listing for the property did not include any asking sales price and said the property could be redeveloped or “remain as one of the East End’s premiere hospitality destinations.”

Article: https://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/boardy-barn-sale-hampton-bays-osm5ocrr

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