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Great Neck developer spends $9.5M on Rockville Centre diocese office

Philips International Holding Corp., a real estate company based in Great Neck, plans to transform the former headquarters of the Diocese of Rockville Centre into 60,000 square feet of premiere office space.

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The $19 million project will produce the first Class A office building in Rockville Centre, according to Fred Parola, CEO of the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency. Philips International, a developer and landlord that manages more than 250 buildings nationwide, doesn’t have tenants committed to the project, the IDA said.

Rock 50 LLC, an affiliate of Philips International, bought the diocese’s administrative office at 50 N. Park Ave. for $9.5 million in Oct., a deed shows. The diocese sold the five-story building to Synergy Holding Partners earlier in 2021 for $5.2 million as part of the religious group’s bankruptcy proceedings, the IDA said. The diocese filed for bankruptcy while facing more than 200 lawsuits from victims of alleged sexual abuse.

The gut renovation will make over the lobby, lower level and five upper floors, and upgrade or replace the building systems, the IDA said. Within two years of its debut, the revamped building is expected to provide workspace for 220 full-time employees, according to a project cost-benefit analysis prepared for the IDA.

Rock 50 LLC won preliminary approval from the IDA for more than $2.6 million in benefits last month. The benefits won’t be formally authorized until a public hearing is held and the agency finishes reviewing the project, the IDA said.

With that signoff, the project will receive more than $2.1 million in property tax discounts over 20 years, as well as nearly $500,000 in other tax exemptions, according to the cost-benefit analysis. The building was not subject to property taxes when owned by the diocese.

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“The project, should the IDA grant final approval, will create hundreds of new jobs as the building is upgraded and tenanted and bring in new revenues for all the taxing jurisdictions,” Parola said in a statement.

Philips International didn’t respond to requests for comment, but said in an IDA news release that the company wouldn’t pursue the project without tax incentives.

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