Mortgage lender looking for tax breaks to stay in Nassau


A fast-growing mortgage lender is asking Nassau County for tax breaks to expand to Uniondale instead of relocating to Suffolk, executives said.

Cliffco Mortgage Bankers in New Cassel wants to renovate space at 70 Charles Lindbergh Blvd. in Uniondale, which was once the headquarters of the Fortunoff department stores and part of the old Mitchel Field.

The 93,000 square foot office building has been partly owned by Cliffco and its president, Christopher Clifford, for two and a half years, he said last week. The 30-year mortgage lender would serve as the building’s primary tenant and attract other tenants.

Clifford has estimated that building improvements for Cliffco and another new tenant, insurer Emblem Health, will cost $ 3 million. He is asking the County Industrial Development Agency for a sales tax exemption of up to $ 114,700 on the purchase of building materials and furnishings, according to a request for assistance.

In addition, he’s asking for a $ 60,000 reduction in mortgage registration tax and a 20-year reduction in property taxes, the request says.

In return for the aid, Cliffco would move its 62 jobs to Uniondale and add about 60 more over three years. Employees earn an average of $ 104,520 per year, the app says.

The IDA board agreed last week to negotiate a tax incentive package with Clifford.

His real estate attorney, Daniel P. Deegan, said the Uniondale building has been largely empty since 2017. Cliffco’s lease in New Cassel will expire soon and more space is needed.

Cliffco had “no intention of coming to this building [in Uniondale] even if there is an overlap in ownership, ”Deegan said. ” But they [Clifford and his partners] have not been able to lease this building “and” bringing in Cliffco Mortgage would activate the building and hopefully attract more tenants, “the lawyer said.

Clifford, who started the business in his basement in 1989 with $ 20,000 from his retirement account, envisioned office space in Suffolk along Route 110.

Cliffco is licensed to do business in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Texas, and the US Virgin Islands. She deals with traditional mortgages, refinancing and reverse mortgages.

IDA President Richard Kessel said last week that the project was worth considering because the building is in a shopping center “and needs help.” If improvements are made, they will create good paying jobs, ”he said.

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