The Engel Burman Group very recently entered into negotiations with iStar Financial to buy the 6-acres of oceanfront land dubbed the Superblock, a property that has been in a state of arrested development for over forty years. This comes after the Nassau County Zoning Board revoked iStar’s building permits in late 2018 due to its failure to break ground after four years of variances and extensions. iStar originally obtained them in 2014 to construct two 15-story residential structures, plus retail space, along the beach and boardwalk. Engel Burman has not fully disclosed all its plans for the property once they take ownership, but CISLeads reports their intention to build over 400 residences, answering a long-standing cry for more housing options in the Long Island area.
Why Has the Superblock Been Such a Contentious Piece of Property?
The Superblock’s troubles have long been documented. Originally the home to apartment buildings and a bowling alley in the 1960s, the properties became derelict and were razed to make room for new developments. The city reclaimed the property in the 1980s due to unpaid taxes and sold it to the Haberman family’s developers, who planned to build high-rise apartments. The 90s saw plans to build hotels, a convention center, and more, but nothing came of it.
When iStar Financial stepped in, their plans were well-timed for what has been in high demand for the area: shopping and residential spaces on the waterfront and boardwalk. They applied a one-year variance in 2014 that would allow them to build beyond the zoning board’s regulations for the location and then never moved forward. A Nassau County State Supreme Court judge upheld a decision to revoke their permits when no progress had been made, and all paperwork failed to be completed and submitted. iStar has filed a $100 million dollar suit against the city; officials have filed to dismiss the lawsuit, and a judgment is pending.
What Is In Store for the New Long Beach Project?
Four hundred residences in the form of apartments and condos (with possible retail space) can spell a number of possibilities for this site. At this point, however, the sale must be completed, and all surrounding litigation needs to be settled. What is known right now is at least encouraging:
- Engel Burman owns and manages many properties around Long Island and Nassau County, including multiple assisted-living facilities, as well as other commercial and residential properties.
- The sale of the property calls for a viable building plan for the property, which hopefully promises a projected date for groundbreaking and completion.
- The plan Engel Burman is developing is to include construction that will require no variances, which should help to reduce the time it takes to get the ball rolling.
- Engel Burman is also making plans to meet with the community to ascertain what locals and developers want for the area.