Developer seeking to build Long Beach high-rises threatens suit

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LONG BEACH -

A developer seeking to build two luxury high-rise apartment buildings in Long Beach is threatening to sue the city.

The developer, iStar, is seeking to build a luxury oceanfront complex at the vacant lot known as the Super Block, and is threatening to sue the City of Long Beach for $105 million if the project doesn't get tax breaks from Nassau County. The developer claims that the city is not following through on its agreement to support requests for a tax abatement from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

Civic group leader Sam Pinto says whether the project leads to a major tax break for the developer or a major lawsuit, residents will wind up footing the bill either way.

"We had an informational session in Long Beach -- you can call it that if you'd like, there wasn't many answers given," he says. "But what we did find out is that along with an $80 to $90 million tax request, if the city doesn't lobby on their behalf, we're going to have to foot the bill for a $100 million lawsuit."

Pinto added, "It could be extortion on one end by the developer, or it could be the government not paying attention to the details, but it looks like the residents are going to be footing the bill no matter what."

The Nassau County IDA usually gives developers tax abatements when it builds properties that will somehow benefit the entire community.

Some lawmakers are blaming the city for the potential lawsuit.

"Really is a kick in the pants to the residents -- the residents didn't even know about this, that there was some type of secret agreement that was signed by the city administration," says Nassau Legislator Denise Ford.

The City of Long Beach responded with a statement that says in part, "The city is unable to comment on litigation unless and until it is served with a complaint, which has not yet occurred."

While many residents say they oppose the developer getting the tax break, they do say it is about time something is built in the massive, empty lot.

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