A resident asked me to post his ‘Letter to the Editor’ that was just submitted to Newsday. RE: iStar / Hedge Fund Welfare [OPINIONS]

Dear Letters Editor,

For residents of Long Beach the article, Lux Rentals for Westbury, April 4, was quite revelatory. As the real estate experts and even developers reveal, the supply of luxury rentals on Long Island is low, even as the demand is insatiable despite the high and increasing rents these apartments are commanding. In fact, you report, that Long Island’s luxury rentals “get snapped up almost as soon as they become available” while Mitchell Pally , chief executive of the Long Island Builders Institute states that this burgeoning market “is willing to pay that [high] price in order to get” the apartment they want.

Yet in Long Beach, the developers of the Wayfarer Superblock luxury apartment project are demanding that the Nassau County IDA provide $110 million over 20 years in tax abatements, this after already receiving unprecedented zoning variances to supersize their offerings, claiming that they cannot accomplish their project profitably without Nassau County taxpayers picking up part of their tab. It sounds like real estate investment trust hedge fund welfare to me.

The property in Long Beach is ultra prime, one of a kind, beach front, a short fifty minute train ride to the world’s greatest city. Long Beachers will be shocked if the IDA’s cost benefit analysis for Wayfarer supports any tax break for this luxury development. But, should the IDA somehow grant any tax relief, all Nassau County taxpayers should demand absolute transparency with respect to the process and “database” that could lead to such a conclusion. This county is in no financial condition to provide “profit insurance” to wealthy real estate investors. Developer Anthony Bartone said “we really couldn’t keep up with the demand” for high end rentals, so it sounds like this seller’s market presents the perfect opportunity for a real free enterprise approach, not taxpayer funded incentives to build.

Neal J. Monteko
Long Beach, NY

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