At Seiden & Schein, P.C., we assist our clients during every step of the development process.
That includes ensuring that they take advantage of all potential real estate tax incentives to
maximize their project’s bottom line. The work performed by Senior Counsel Hillary Potashnick
and Associate Luisa Gutierrez exemplifies this commitment. Potashnick, who has over 30 years
of experience in cooperative and condominium law, and Gutierrez, who has a deep
understanding of New York real estate tax incentives, work diligently – and in tandem – to
ensure our roster of clients qualify for a full range of tax abatements and exemptions.

Unlike for-sale condominiums, in which apartments and commercial spaces are offered to the
public through an offering plan that is filed with the Attorney General’s office, the creation of a
condominium solely to enable one building to receive multiple real estate tax benefits is
performed via a “No Action” Letter application to the Attorney General. This expedited
procedure allows for the efficient conversion of the property to condominium ownership.
And, whereas many other law firms take a step back and let others oversee the approval
processes of required documentation as it makes its way through various governmental
agencies’ checkpoints, Gutierrez and Potashnick leverage their long-standing professional
relationships with administrators within the agencies to help ensure a seamless outcome for our

“We are rather unique in that way,” Potashnick says. “Luisa and I, the whole firm, pride
ourselves on enjoying great relationships with all the agencies we work with, because they know
they can trust us to put out a quality product. The fact that we can pick up the phone and reach
who we need to reach and have a real conversation about an individual application is a real
benefit for our clients.”

Since each tax lot may only receive one abatement or exemption, the building must be carved
up (on paper only!) into a Jenga-like series of separate tax lots, each of which are now able to
receive a tax incentive.

“Maybe a mixed-use building qualifies for tax exemption benefits under Section 421-a [of the
Real Property Tax Law], but due to the limitations of the program on non-residential space, the
building could benefit from applying for ICAP [the Industrial and Commercial Abatement
Program] on a portion of the non-residential space in the building,” Gutierrez says. “Splitting the
building into different condo lots is a way to allow multiple tax benefits on one property.”
Another important strategy for eligible not-for-profits such as churches, hospitals and charities is
to convert the property to a Leasehold Condominium, which when combined with certain tax
incentive programs can erase the not-for-profit’s full real estate tax bill entirely.
“The big organizations we work with already know to inquire about these benefits, but small not-
for-profits that are leasing space for which they are paying real estate taxes should talk with
their landlord and the fee owners, and then meet with us to discuss how we can work together
to convert the building into a leasehold condo,” Potashnick says.

The expansion of the number of tax lots on a property is possible regardless of the size of the
building the not-for-profit is leasing. “It can be done in a two-story building, it can be a 400
square foot area on the first floor,” she says.

There has never been a better time to call Seiden & Schein, P.C. to inquire about and take
advantage of these opportunities. For more information, contact:

Hillary A. Potashnick, Senior Counsel [email protected]
Alvin Schein, Partner [email protected]
Adam A. Levenson, Partner [email protected]
Jane Rosenberg, Partner [email protected]