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Nassau County Center: Life-saver or dream?

So, will the proposed centralized government facility in Long Island's Nassau County be a needed shot in the arm for the region's budget woes? If we read between the lines, the benefits that would be gained from building such a project are not all that obvious.

Although members of the Nassau County Development Group, LLC, the private development consortium that submitted the plan for the facility, expressed great enthusiasm about the project, they found it much more difficult to pinpoint what the actual benefits would be. According to Michael Faltischek, Esq., a partner at the firm of Ruskin, Moscou, Evans & Faltischek, P.C. and the spokesperson for the development group, said the plan comes with no guarantees.

"It's impossible to say right now what kind of savings would result from this development," he said. "It could be $10 per square foot, it could be more."

In addition, it was originally maintained that the centralization would free up 2 million SF of space for the county, allowing more companies (and more capital) to move in. However, Faltischek admitted that at this point he doesn't know the exact amount of space that would result from the government's relocation. "We are not sure of the number of square feet that the government currently occupies," he said. "It takes up somewhere between 1.2 million SF and 1.5 million SF within the Garden City/Mineola area, but I am not sure about the rest of the country."

Finally, the centralization might not come in time to help the county's failing financial health. If the plans for the Nassau County Government Center are passed, it will take another three to four years for the facility to be completed. When asked whether such a measure -- the effects of which would not be enjoyed anytime soon -- could really be helpful, Faltischek wasn't certain. "I don't think the county is facing bankruptcy," he said. "But the facility might fit into a part of the county's long-range financial plan."

At the same time, Faltischek was careful to point out that if the plans for financial improvements resulting from the Nassau County Government Center sound shaky, it is because most of the research on the development hasn't been done yet. "We are being hired to determine how much land would be freed up and what kinds of savings the facility would bring in," he said. "Until we do the work to determine the current cots of operating the government as compared to a centralized system, it is impossible to say what the benefits will be. We think that the savings might be substantial."

"The private sector has an opportunity to help reverse the county's plunging fortunes; one that may support meaningful, long-term beneficial change. NCDG's focus is on the owned/occupied government real estate inventory of Nassau county," remarked Frederick DeMatteis, a member of NCDG and chairman of the board of The DeMatteis Organization.

"It is distressing today to find Nassau county government in financial disarray, its bonds approaching junk status, and its revenue stream insufficient to meet projected operating requirements in the coming years. Also, its once-proud physical plant is sadly deteriorating," said Vincent Polimeni, founder and chief executive officer of the Polimeni Organization, LLC.

"NCDG believes that private enterprise can produce, through its efforts, more resources, efficiencies in procurement, and timely performance unique to the private sector, all of which can result in substantial financial savings," added Faltischek.

The plan for the development of the Center is currently being reviewed by the Nassau County government council. So far, the location and the design of the new facility have not been discussed. It is uncertain when the council will reach a final decision.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 27, 2000
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