Groundbreaking held for controversial Long Beach superblock project

A groundbreaking took place Tuesday afternoon for a project that will transform a long-vacant waterfront property in Long Beach.
The superblock project will include 238 apartments, 200 condo units and a restaurant.
The property will be built on a 6-acre waterfront piece of land located between Long Beach and Riverside boulevards.
The project ends a 40-year stalemate between past developers and the city to develop the property, including decades of legal action.
Back in April, the city announced that iStar Financial, the site's previous developer, agreed to settle a lawsuit that could have cost taxpayers $100 million.
The move also paves the way for current developer Engel Burman to start building hundreds of apartments and condos, as well as a restaurant on the property.
Engel Burman received a tax break from the Nassau Industrial Development Agency and will get a credit on the first $2.5 million in permit fees, because the city already received that money from iStar.
Developers say the project is expected to generate $130 million in new taxes over the first 25 years.
Some Long Beach residents like Peter Kasten are on board.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Kasten says. “Anything they build here, it’s good for Long Beach, it’s good for Long Island. It’s better than a giant empty lot.”
However, government watchdogs question incentives given to the developer — especially because Long Beach is struggling financially.
Civic activist Roy Lester says it’s costing Long Beach residents millions of dollars.
“That’s not a good thing and we need the money,” Lester says.
The $369 million project will include boardwalk-level retail, a restaurant and parking for a thousand cars.
The construction of the superblock project is expected to be completed in three years.