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Wildflower Estate residents to get $203K in tax refunds

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Avella said that tax inequities created by inaccurate zoning have resulted in residents of the development losing out on thousands of dollars in real estate tax abatements since the complex was built in the late 1990s."While certain issues remain to be addressed, I am very happy to see that the Department of Finance finally realized the inequity in the real estate taxes and chose to correct this situation and issue refunds to these property owners," Avella said. Avella said the refunds are the culmination of more than four years of meetings and negotiations he has conducted with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the DOF and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. As a result of the negotiations, 16 of the 30 residents will receive more than $10,000 in refunds, while another five will receive more than $20,000. "I'm delighted," Avella said. "Some of the residents got more than $20,000. That's a huge amount of money." When the homes originally began selling in 1998, asking prices were between $232,690 to $276,060 for one-floor units and $373,930 to $682,740 for duplex units, according to a New York Times real estate listing. Up until last year, much of Wildflower Estates, a collection of single family townhouses located at 168-11 Powells Cove, was classified by the city as a commercial zone. The development was built in the late 1990s on the site of the Hammerstein Estate, a Tudor mansion once owned by famed Broadway producer Arthur Hammerstein. For many years, a restaurant was operated in the mansion until it burned down in 1994. The estate was rebuilt as the Wildflower Estates a few years later, but was never rezoned. According to Avella, until the site was recently rezoned as a class 1 residential zone, residents were losing out on thousands of dollars in tax refunds. "I'm glad that the city has started to treat Wildflower residents like any other residents in the city," he said. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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