After a period of about 5 years, the Village of Mineola has approved and finalized all permits to the Winston Project rental apartment complex and , albeit by a slim 3-0 vote with two abstentions.
The project has undergone a since it was first proposed in 2007, where the original applicant was Polimeni International but is now turning development rights over to Mill Creek Residential Trust due to the nature of the project being .
As part of the finalized permits, the company was seeking relief from some agreements from the at a meeting on May 2 at the , particularly a previously granted permit for a parking garage to be built on Third Street to provide parking for the office building at 170 Old Country Road, known at the .
The village was to receive 40 spaces to make up for the loss of on-street metered parking on Third Avenue between Main Street and Willis Avenue and will also accept an “upfront” deed to the property at the northeast corner of Third Street and Willis where a constructed parking lot will be built to house the 40 spaces that will not be located in the garage. A 2 year lease on the garage with Mill Creek will exist at a monthly rental of $5,000, or $120,000 total. It is expected that construction of the Winston may be completed during that time.
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According to village attorney John Spellman, the original location for the parking garage on a “narrow lot adjoined by existing buildings made the proposed parking garage a nonstarter. The projected per-space cost was off the charts.”
The developer had arranged for parking for 170 Old Country Road to be in a neighboring garage, relocating the 40 spaces to the new lot at Willis and Third Avenue. Spellman said that the village “will be made whole” with respect to parking spaces and come out ahead in receiving fee title to the lot, which will be constructed immediately.
It is estimated that the annual revenue could bring in $40,000 to $50,000 per year in meter revenue, assuming $5 per day per meter.
The Nassau County Department of Public Works had originally required the building be set back an additional eight feet from Old Country Road to allow for future expansion of the roadway. After speaking with , it was agreed that the county would accept an agreement that the on-street parking would be eliminated for a possible future lane of traffic.
The developer will also accelerate the original incentive payments to the village of $1 million at the building permit, $1 million six months later and $1 million at certificate of occupancy. The previous agreement was $1 million at the building permit, $1 million at certificate of occupancy and $1 million six months later.
Mill Creek will also be applying for a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency regarding the Winston and the Churchill buildings.
The Nassau IDA will often assist a developer in undertaking a project, being able to enter into agreements for PILOTs, including sales, real estate and mortgage taxes. The original 2007 project projected annual tax revenues of $317,000. The conversion to rentals would have brought in $86,850 the first year PILOT versus the current taxes of $57,583. In approaching the IDA, the developer has worked out a first-year tax total of $603,750 for all taxes, with the projected amount for the village being $69,677.89. If the building were fully built and occupied today, the total taxes would be about $300,000. There is a 20 year schedule of PILOT payments, going from $68,821.38 and rising to $120,328 in the final year. The actual amount being offered is $68,621.38.
Since this is an IDA project, if an agreement on the PILOT cannot be reached, the IDA can impose one on the village if the project is approved to go forward. According to Spellman, it is illegal to have a “make up” agreement with a developer in which the developer will pay a municipality the difference between a PILOT and the actual taxes that would affect the property.
A host community benefits agreement for the project exists, paying an additional $196,500 to the village in the first year of the PILOT program, a total of $265,121.38 or 88.4 percent of full taxation.
Using the annual escalation of 3 percent, the total amount over 20 years would be $344,563.94, plus the PILOT of $120,328. Due to it being an IDA enterprise, the PILOT payments will go into the general fund as non-tax revenues before being split up into the homestead and non-homestead lines, the equivalent of $132,560.69 each.
There was some disagreement on the board about whether the project was in fact an IDA designated project as well as some confusion over the parking spaces .
The schedule for the project going forward would be as follows: May 3 – ordering of plans; May 9, publishing IDA notice; May 30 – IDA hearing; November 1 – final submission of plans to village; Jan. 3, 2013 – final approval of plans and issuance of building permits; March 1, 2013 – groundbreaking; March 1, 2015 – certificate of occupancy.
“The Winston has been and continues to be a good project for Mineola,” Spellman said reading his opinion. “It gives progressive realization to several component’s of the village’s master plan,” including forms of housing, vitality to the downtown area and enhancing the visual corridor.
“This has been a long-term project, finally hopefully it’s coming to a realization,” said, noting the 36 units of affordable senior housing and other amenities. “I think it’s a long time coming, I think it’s a well worthwhile project.”