300 Talk Teen-Drinking Prevention at County Center

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WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. From Westchester County Department of Communications. (EDITED) December 12, 2003:Close to 300 people attended Thursday’s conference on underage drinking – students, parents and principals representing 39 Westchester public and private high schools, and police officers from 33 Westchester Departments.

They were called together by Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, who wanted to gain input from them on three preliminary proposals made by Spano as well as to offer ideas of their own.
The event took place at the Westchester County Center.

“I was so impressed with the discussion I heard at all levels,” said Spano. “These groups had different thoughts on some of my proposals, but had a real interest in finding ways to deal with the problem. If there was a common thread, it was a belief that programs that educate teens and pre-teens about the perils of drinking – particularly those that are peer-to-peer – can be very effective. Also, that parents must be held accountable.”

As a follow up to the conference, participants will receive a list of “best practices” that are being implemented in schools and communities throughout Westchester. Hearing what works in other areas will help communities shape dynamic and effective programs for themselves.

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Mayor Talks to NYPH in NYC. Gretsas: Hospital Asks Nothing More.

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WPCNR Evening City Star Reporter. From The Mayor’s Office. December 12, 2003 UPDATED 7:15 A.M., December 13, 2003: Mayor Joseph Delfino of White Plains and Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and Chief Executive Officer of New York Presbyterian Hospital met Thursday morning in Manhattan. Present were representatives for the hospital in the first of a series of meetings coming out of the hospital’s threat of an Article 78 action last week, over terms of the August 5, 2002 Approval granted them by the White Plains Common Council.

The city and hospital agreed to continue talks, “a dialogue with the city on community issues,” according to the Mayor’s Executive Officer, George Gretsas.

THE GRETSAS REPORT: George Gretsas, Executive Officer, City of White Plains reported an “amicable meeting” took place Thursday morning at NYPH headquarters in New York. A decided change in attitude on the part of the hospital since last week’s Article 78 threat.
Photo by WPCNR News

Gretsas said the Mayor and he met with Pardes and his representatives for approximately two hours, and a tentative second meeting was being scheduled. Mr. Gretsas characterized the meeting as upbeat. He described the hospital’s attitude as friendly, decidedly different than the atmosphere last week when the hospital reserved its right to sue the city, indicating they might file an Article 78 action over the conditions of their August 5 approval of their biomedical research/proton accelerator center.

Hospital Changes Tone.

Gretsas said the parties had agreed to keep the details of what was discussed confidential. He said he was able to reveal that in Thursday’s “New York Summit,” the hospital team clarified its position of last week, reporting that what came out of Thursday’s meeting was “They are not asking the city for anything more than what was approved by the Common Council on August 5, 2002.”

That approval sets conditions on the hospital ability to conduct certain types of biomedical research; required the city monitor hospital safety procedures; and restricted research to nonprofit use in a very exacting 80-page Special Permit Findings Statement..

Not asking for clarification.

Gretsas also reports the hospital fully understands the terms of the agreement, saying “They are not asking for clarification (of the approval).”

Backing off V.P. of Real Estate’s Position?

WPCNR was told by a hospital spokesperson last week, that the Vice President for Real Estate for New York Presbyterian Hospital, Robert Volland had objected to the Journal News report the hospital was looking to change the terms of the approval.

The source said that Volland had said the hospital was looking for “clarification,” not loosening up the reins of control, contrary to what was reported in the Gannett outlet.

Hospital Willing to Address “city issues

The Mayor’s Executive Officer said the continuing discussions would be over “community issues only,” but said he could not say more.

Suit Threat Over? Not Really.

Gretsas, weighing his words carefully said, when asked if the hospital offered to withdraw the unusual threat of an Article 78 action on an approval, neither party “waived any rights.”

When Hospital Complained.

These talks came out of concerns the hospital first voiced to the city in early November, Gretsas reported to WPCNR last week. He had reported that New York Presbyterian Hospital had not indicated any problems with the approval to the city within the first two months after the approval, even though the city had liaisoned extensively with the hospital to be of service to them in going forward.

A hospital source told WPCNR last week the hospital had had discussions with the city before last week about the terms of the agreement. Gretsas said last week that the Notice of Claim the hospital filed last Thursday was a complete surprise to the city. He said that the hospital had talked with the city in November saying they wanted “clarification,” of the terms of the August approval. Gretsas said the city position was that what the hospital classified as “clarification,” was not a clarification at all, but a liberalization of the terms of the approval.

City Monitoring Process Not in Place.

WPCNR asked Gretsas Tuesday if the city had begun putting in place a system to monitor hospital safety procedures and review of the kinds of research the hospital might propose in attracting partners to the newly approved project. Gretsas said “It’s premature.”

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7 Swank Street Level Restaurants Planned for Galleria. New Floor Theatre On Top

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WPCNR MAIN STREET JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. December 12:Mills Corporation, projected new owners of White Plains landmark mall, The Galleria, has detailed preliminary plans for the property. They call for transforming the first street level of the Galleria, now occupied by the Bunny’s children’s store and Emmigrant Bank, into a culinary palette of seven sit-down restaurants. Preliminary plans call for new construction of a fifth Galleria floor which will include a “Cinema.” A PBS Kids facility will be located on the third level.

MILLS VISION FOR THE GALLERIA: Preliminary plans released to Wall Street analysts during conference call with the Mills Corporation Tuesday, detailing their first take on how they hope to transform the image of The Galleria.
Photo by WPCNR News

Dynamic Siegel signals approach to The Galleria and new properties.

Laurence Siegel, Chairman of Mills Corporation, said he would have respect for the roles his new acquisitions have in the community, and said the Mills Corporation would take a pragmatic approach in reinventing the malls:

“We understand that retail relationships are important assets, and we recognize the relationships between the retailer and consumer is unique in each property we own. We will maintain the integrity of each mall’s brand while carefully examining how to enhance the customer experience with the Mills Touch.”

Siegel sent a signal to the new Mills properties to fasten their seatbelts: “At this time, with retail formats emerging, we think there are positive returns for innovative creative thinking. These acquisitions provide opportunities for us to work our magic to the benefit of consumers, retailers and entertainment partners…”

Making Over the West Side, Balancing The Westchester and the City Center

The Mills leader then introduced to the analysts, his preliminary site plans for each of his six acquisitions. For The Galleria, he was particular excited: “We are planning a number of expansions and enhancements to the acquired properties…At the 4-level Galleria in White Plains, New York, we are repositioning this asset to complement The Westchester. With an already top-performing Macy’s, a full-line Sears Department store will be a perfect addition to the merchandise mix. Popular priced retail with stores like H & M, is currently performing extremely well. We’re also adding a movie theatre, top flight restaurants, and a PBS Kid Zone that will also feature a cluster of children’s retail.”

Mills Has Already Done Some Deep Thinking

The preliminary floor plans proposed by Mills Corporation, the self-styled “Chicago Bulls of the 90s” in mall development that specializes in creating “destination malls” across America, are in character with the organization’s strategy of creating malls which are not just to shop, but where entertainment, recreation, and good times are a la carte to the consumer experience.

The Mills Fast Break.

From the new Galleria site plan released to the Wall Street “clairvoyants,” in Mills sees The Galleria as becoming a place to meet, greet, and entertain, in addition to the shopping piece.

For starters, the plans call for turning the first floor Galleria street level into a restaurant wheel of tasty temptation to play to the upscale legal, financial, and business traffic that frequent White Plains during the day. On the drawing the restaurants are actually named, but are not visible, and the Mills Media Relations Department has advised WPCNR they will get back to us with details on how Mills plans to proceed after they close in January.

On the Food Court level 2, other restaurant innovations to the Food Court appear to be planned. On Level 3, there appear to be no major design changes, while Level 4, a children’s cluster of retail will be built around the “draw” of a PBS Kids Zone facility.

The plans call for the construction of a fifth floor including a Cinema with vast space not accounted for as to what would fill out the fifth floor on the plans.

Other questions to be asked in the coming months include the state of the leases for present tenants at The Galleria, who would be managing The Galleria for Mills, whether they would bring in their own supervisors, or absorb the present Galleria management into the Mills management team. Cadillac Fairview’s public relations agency in Toronto did not return WPCNR calls for comment on this matter.

The Chicago Bulls of Mall Management is Coming to Town.

The Tuesday Conference Call introduced the Mills management team, saying they had the “management strength and depth to get the job done,” likening his management team, to be “more like the 1990s Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls a dominant, seasoned, multi-disciplined team that knows how to win year after year.”

The man who handles construction for the Mills team is Jim Whitcomb, with the company since 1994. He was described by Jim Napoli, Vice President of Operations, as “the most seasoned and veteran mall construction man in history…no one is better.”

City contacted by Mills Wednesday afternoon.

Paul Wood, Economic Development specialist for the Mayor’s office said a spokesperson for the Mills Corporation contacted the Mayor’s office yesterday, apologizing for not informing the city of their impending acquisition. The rationale given was the sensitivity of the acquisition process.

Wood said the Mills representative assured the city, “The plans are still very preliminary.”

Wood reported to WPCNR, “We want to talk with them. They want to talk to us. They said plans were still undetermined. They basically want to familiarize themselves with The (Galleria) Mall.They won’t be delivering any detailed plans any time soon.”

City officials privately are annoyed with Cadillac Fairview for not informing the city that the mall was about to change hands, and understand the Mills Corporation position.

Siegel: Galleria will get more than the usual “Mills tweaking.”

Laurence Siegel, the Chairman of the Mills Corporation, spoke generally about the six malls his organization is purchasing, informing analysts the company was going to spend between $325 Million to $350 Million to renovate all six, which means that The Galleria may undergo approximately a $60 Million of improvements. They will be extensive, if you listen to Mr. Siegel’s comments in the Conference Call:

“The six mall properties (The Galleria is one), we are about to acquire, fall within the (Mills) Third Growth Strategy…which is 21st century traditional retail and entertainment. These projects…have income and our ability to create a unique brand of retail excitement and entertainment that can take a traditional mall format and make it an exceptional attraction will create from scratch an exciting new consumer venue.”

Siegel guaranteed a new direction: “We’re not buying these malls to content ourselves with the usual tweaking. Rather we bought them with a view to profitably enhance them by putting to work our proven ability to anticipate trends, engage consumers’ imagination and create exceptional retail and entertainment experiences.”

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Delfino Team Opens Stop N Shop. Mr. & Mrs. White Plains’ Supermarket Opens Today

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WPCNR MORNING SUN. By John F. Bailey. December 12, 2002: Shoppers grab your carts! White Plains new Super Stop N Shop Supermarket opens today at 7 A.M. ushering in a new easy-in, easy-out full service supermarket inside the White Plains city limits on Westchester Avenue across from The Container Store at the eastern gateway, conveniently located off I-287. The store was built in just seven months.

MAYOR JOSEPH DELFINO AND THE SUPER STOP N SHOP TEAM cut the ribbon on the new Super Stop N Shop Wednesday evening. The store is open 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, and 7 AM to midnight Sundays. Shoppers park in a brightly lit, 24/7 security-patrolled parking garage behind the store, a short stroll to the store’s entrance. The store aisles are wide and brightly lit, duplicating the Super Stop N Shop aisle layout, consumers are familiar with and there are 20 Checkouts. A complete full-service Fleet Bank with tellers and a Dunkin Donuts outlet are new features of the store.
Photo by WPCNR ShopperCam

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RADIO DISNEY at “SKATE WITH SANTA” Day at Playland Ice Casino

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WPCNR Newsreel. From Westchester County Department of Parks and Recreation. December 7, 2002:The holiday season will kick into high gear when jolly old Santa himself sharpens his skates and takes a turn on the ice with children of all ages during “Skate with Santa,” featuring the Radio Disney Party Patrol, Saturday, December 14, at the Playland Ice Casino at Playland Park in Rye.

From 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Santa will take to the ice on both the Main and Children’s rinks at the Ice Casino and will give away candy canes to all young skaters. Bring a camera and he’ll be happy to pose for holiday photos as well. As a special added treat for the children, the Radio Disney Party Patrol will be on hand from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. with music, prizes, games and members of the “Team Disney” staff.

Regular admission prices are $6 for adults, $5 for adults with a Westchester County Park Pass, $5 for senior citizens with a county Senior Citizen ID, $4 for children age 12 and under and $3 for children with a Westchester County Park pass holder.

The Playland Ice Casino is a facility of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. The Ice Casino features three indoor, climate-controlled rinks, a concessions stand and lounge, a games arcade, and the Playland Skating School. It is located in Rye and can be reached via I-95 (the New England Thruway) to Playland Parkway exit 19. Follow the Parkway directly into Playland Park. Parking for the Ice Casino is free.

For more information, call (914) 813-7059 or visit www.ryeplayland.org.

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CCOS-TV: Great WP Open Spaces to Be Subject of New Public Access TV Show

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS VARIETY. By John F. Bailey. December 11, 2002:Public Access Television in White Plains will have a new show in January, being prepared by Concerned Citizens for Open Space that will be hosted by the President of the pioneering White Plains open space protection group. Alan Teck, the host, is lining up guests now and the show is planned for a January premier on the new “Spirit of 76” Public Access Channel 76.

TECK-TV: Alan Teck of White Plains, Open Space advocate, and President of Concerned Citizens for Open Space, will host is own television show on the new “Spirit of 76” Public Access Channel 76, beginning sometime in January. Teck told WPCNR, there are more than enough environmental issues to do more than a year of shows. Mr. Teck, in his thoughtful, serious style is shown speaking out in August for open space at the August 6 Common Council meeting.
Photo by WPCNR Entertainment

The new show on Public Access 76 will be hosted by Alan Teck of White Plains, CCOS President.

Mr. Teck told WPCNR Wednesday that he would be interviewing representatives from each of White Plains neighborhood associations on open space issues, parks issues, features, and concerns in their specific areas of White Plains.

Teck, acting as the solo host, said he is lining up guest appearances from heads of parks services and conservation groups in the County and state, persons involved in preservation of key White Plains existing parks, and spokespersons on other environmental issues.

Doris Simon is working with Mr. Teck, as his Executive Producer, scheduling guests and organizing the program schedule.

Teck said his show would debut some week in January, and be aired on Mondays at 10 PM.

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The Mills Mall: A Playing, Buying Environment: Formidable Cappelli Competitor

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS MAIN STREET JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. December 11, 2002: The landing of The Mills Corporation in White Plains, inventors of the “malls and beyond concept” will test its formulas for successful original malls in Orange, California, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida in attempting to make over The Galleria.

The Mills formula will be tested to see if it can bring a mall pioneer in Westchester, the perpetually successful, much maligned anchor of the 80s, The Galleria, into strong competitive position with The Westchester and the City Center under construction.

Around America with Mills

White Plains economists can get a very good handle on just how formidable Mills is by going to Mills’ detailed website at www.millscorp.com, where a complete description of their present properties is presented.

Westchester Shopping Still Based on the Walt Whitman Mall Model. No more.

Mall shopping was invented in the New York Metropolitan Area in Huntington, Long Island, at the famous Walt Whitman mall which opened in 1963, and is still in business. However, mall shopping in the New York area has, for the most part followed the “park-and-shop-at-a-lot-of-stores model” that has changed little from the basic Walt Whitman Mall concept.

The newer malls in Westchester and surrounding areas: the Stamford Town Center, and the Palisades Mall, and our own The Westchester, have brought toney shopping and architectural ambience (the Palisades Mall excluded), are still simply places to shop, with possibly a movie.

A lot more than mall

Mills Corporation specializes in a mall where there are recreational pursuits as well as shopping. They have built their malls outside highly populated cities to appeal to the suburbs with a strategy of giving families enough different activities so they could actually stay the whole day at their malls and not be bored.

Mills Corporation has built a strong brand name “The Mills” and their malls are known by names such as Franklin Mills (“Pennsylvania’s Most Visited Attraction”), in Philadelphia, “The Block” in Orange, California, and Sawgrass Mills in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Let’s Go to the Mall on Vacation.”

Tourists across the country go to “The Mills” projects as tourist attractions because of what there is to do there. Mills projects have the aura and attraction of such state of the art malls as Quayside in Miami. They are “destination malls,” while malls in Westchester are simply just places to shop.

The New York Challenge

The Mills malls offer amusements, toney, upscale stores, theaters, and themes in their malls, creating entire environments, not quite Disney Worlds, but a lot more than just shopping.

The Most Glamorous Retail Free Agents.

The Mills are bigtime with bigtime stores on a string that are eager to work with Mills projects all over the country and already do.

The Mills “force” presents a strong competitive challenge and a glamorous partner to the pioneering Super Developer, Louis Cappelli, which may aid Mr. Cappelli’s City Center in leasing up the rest of its retail and restaurant space, while stimulating retail interest in Mr. Cappelli’s hotel project he aims to build between Grace Church and Court Street on Main Street. The Mills Corporation likes hotels, too.

Galleria to be a compliment to Meadowlands Xanadu IF it happens

The Galleria is the first mall Mills has acquired in the metropolitan area. While The Galleria is the first, Mills is strong in the running to be granted the rights to develop in the Meadowlands complex as soon as next month. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is expected to make the decision on the developer for the rest of the Jersey swamp site at the end of January.

Money Talks. Nobody Walks.

The scope of the money clout Mills brings to a Galleria makeover can be seen in their plans for “Meadowlands Xanadu,” that will make the Meadowlands a heckuva lot more than ho-hum Giants, same old Jets, maybe Nets and invisible Devils, the hapless professional teams that frequent the Meadowlands now.

Turning the Swamp into A Place You Want to Go to.

Mills’ concepts for Meadowlands Xanadu stop just short of being a Disney World in Jersey. Listen to what they’re talking about for Jersey:

A Family Entertainment facility consisting of an indoor skiing facility, indoor wave surfing, fishing, rock and ice climbing, extreme wheel sports courses for bikers, rollerbladers and skateboarders, a children’s “educational venue”, a “movie palace”, luxury spa, and, for course restaurants.

Business Market, too.

They are also “throwing in” a luxury convention hotel, hot wired office space. Mills public relations hype touts Meadowlands Xanadu as “the most expansive and innovative entertainment and retail found at any location in North America.” Wow.

Big Time Player.

That’s not of course going all into The Galleria, however it shows you the way Mills thinks: give the people recreation with their shopping they’ll stay all day, spend more, eat more, and you make more money.

The usual retailer suspects.

The retailers that Louis Cappelli has worked so hard to bring to his City Center are already key players in the Mills lineup nationwide. Some even have bases in The Westchester now.

Think of the luxury Mills has:

Mills can now pick and choose the retail role players, and key recreational components they think will juice The Galleria, while, simultaneously providing a contrast to The Westchester, Westchester Plaza and City Center mix.

The Galleria a Survivor.

The Galleria is no slouch now. It is actually approximately 90% rented at the present time, according to Mills own news release.

Mills America

Let’s check out The Block, Mills southern California mall in Orange County, a county of 3 million people, inland from Los Angeles, a short distance from Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The Blockl bills itself as “southern California’s most imaginative dining, shopping, and entertainment experience.” It’s an open-air promade where kids can go skateboarding. It has AMC theatres, Borders Books, Dave & Busters, Power House, Hilo Hattie, Off 5th, Old Navy Ron-Jon Surf Shop, Vans Skate Park and Virgin Megastore. Speciality stores include: Athlete’s Foot, Big Dog Sportswear, Corner Bakery, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Skechers, Starbucks Café, Café Tu Tu Tango and Wolfgang Puck Café’.

A mere 50 miles away from The Block, Mills is competing with itself, successfully with Ontario Mills, in the heart of “The Inland Empire,” the very toney San Bernardino, Riverside, California area. Ontario Mills features many of the same stores and attractions at the Block, but renders them in a completely different environment.

Meanwhile back on the East Coast…

In Florida, a “destination attraction” is Sawgrass Mills, (a facility even Paula Kelleher, Marketing Director of The Galleria raved about to WPCNR), just outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sawgrass Mills offers locals and snowbirds 400 name brand stores, including Off 5th, Last Call!, The Clearance Center from Nieman-Marcus, Disney’s Character Premier, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger Company Store, Mikasa Factory Store, Banana Republic Factory Store, Gap Outlet.

Within Sawgrass Mills is a restaurant complex called “The Oasis” that features 30 restaurants, most of the sit-down variety, and include Hard Rock Café, Legal Sea Food, The Cheesecake Factory, Wolfgang Puck Café, Rainforest Café, plus a Gameworks and, in case you are bored, 23 Regal Movie Theatres.

Mall Makeovers

However, Mills purchase of The Galleria, and four other Cadillac Fairview malls and a recent acquisition in Cincinnati are their first attempts at mall makeovers. The corporation creates great malls, but can they use the same formula in miniature when they do not have acres and acres to theme and entice and enhance?

The jury is still out on Mills’ first attempts at a mall makeover, the Forest Fair Mall outside Cincinnati.

According to a Mills press release commenting on what they propose to do with this mall which they acquired in September, 2002, just 4 months ago, they are going to give Forest Fair a complete makeover. The mall has been perpetually troubled by ambitious management with shallow pockets. Mills has deep pockets.

Mills promises the Cincinnati poor performer, “a complete makeover,” and they are renaming it Cincinnati Mills. Highlights of the renovation, according to Mills publicity, are “signature Mills treatments, such as gleaming hardwood floors, festive neighborhoods, state-of-the-art Mills TV and sound systems, and an unsurpassed security system.”

All Mills malls have the recquisite cool logo, very cute themed sections, and that welcoming, hospitality you seem to experience at southern restaurants.

Martin Mac Donald, with Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, quoted by Mills, defines the Mills touch like landing a jitterbug just right at the mouth of a Largemouth Bass: “Our stores (Bass Pro Shops) have flourished in Mills locations. The Mills Corporation approach of building dynamic destination shopping creates shopping and entertainment adventures that excite consumers.”

Cincinnati, a lot like Westchester has 1.5 Million people within 20 miles. Forest Fair is located off I-275, the main conduit to the Cincinnati burbs, as White Plains is hard by the hubs of the Sprain, Cross Westchester, and I-95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway.

Jobs Appear Safe at The Galleria Makeover. Could Remain Open as Renovations Begin.

Mills Corporation is remodeling Forest Fair while keeping the mall open for business. They have also kept all of the onsite employees of the Cincinnati mall’s previous owner, according to Mills release.

The Galleria over the years has shown the ability to keep crowds coming in despite poor word of mouth. Media preoccupation with security concerns, and that staple of all malls, the well-heeled teen.

Catering to a younger, middle class clientele, with shoe stores, casual wear, and the ever popular Disney Store, it is the place to go to hang out for 8’s to 18s, staple clothing shopping for families on a budget, but not for serious discretionary big buck browsing.

Long home of A & S and J.C. Penney, which never seemed crowded, The Galleria draws more to the specialty shops, that have lasted and lasted, the Claire’s store, Foot Locker, Yankee Clubhouse, faddy flings are the sizzle there, and it is very trendy. The Galleria has very reasonable parking, though the security is often criticized.

Theatres have never flown there, though the thought of putting the theatre on the top floor as noted in media reports is a step in the right direction. The downstairs theatre never appealed to persons going there. WPCNR is checking into whether The Galleria could add on floors, given its present foundation structure. Mills Corporation projects are not cookie-cutter jobs. Each is unique, themed, and combine the magic suspension of time and responsibilities afforded in an amusement park, with the leisure of selecting a first class dining experience, with the most enticing merch any material girl or patriotic spender could want.
The Galleria has about fifteen fastfood specialty restaurants. It features extensive pushcart stand vendors encouraging the immediate, inexpensive pleasurable purchase, crowded, raw speciality shops and few sitdown restaurants, Greenjeans being the last one this reporter remembers.

To The Galleria’s credit it reinvented its interior in response to challenges from Westchester Plaza Mall and The Westchester, and has kept the crowds coming in, despite its loss of JC Penney, a year ago. Sears, we learned from Paula Kelleher, Director of Marketing at The Galleria, will be coming on board, opening in August, 2003.

Possibilities Boggle the Mind

With their built in roster of name stores, many of which are not presently in White Plains, Mills can put together a name appeal that can counter balance the City Center, the Westchester Plaza and the Westchester.

I could see bringing in Fredericks of Hollywood, we do not have THAT in White Plains, to compete with Victoria’s Secret that is in The Westchester, and presently in The Galleria itself. Off 5th, the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet would get our teens started in the upscale jean direction.

Adding a recreational mix: a skateboard ramp down one of the parking garage ramps, guys?Or a double black diamond ski shoot using air rights above Main Street to cater to those skiing financial types and lawyers in the White Plains West End? Or how about this, a rock-climbing wall on the outside of The Galleria parking garage? (Call it Spidey’s Wall). A deal with Louis Cappelli could put in a sky ski track from the top of the Cappelli towers, flying above Main Street down to the Galleria Roof. There are possibilities for biker races up and down the parking ramps. A motor cycle grand prix course.

Of course, I am being facetious here, but bringing in the Mills trademark of recreation ambience, upscale mix to Westchester County at the Galleria would bring a different, proven-successful retail lure to White Plains, unlike anything the metropolitan area has now.

A Better Restaurant Row.

The Mills trademark of attractive, good, sitdown restaurants in its malls as opposed to the fastfood staples available in most malls is one direction they may take The Galleria, revamping its entertainment possibilities. Though they usually bring in recognized chain theme successes like your Legal Seafoods, Wolfgang Puck Café, Starbucks (Hey, sign them now, we do need a Starbucks in town!), they could very well use The Galleria as an incubator for new dining concepts to turn The Galleria into a lot more than a cheap date. As of now, there are no great dating malls in White Plains.

White Plains third big Player arrives following the Cappelli Charisma

Louis Cappelli, the Super Developer’s confidence in White Plains, has now induced first Fortunoff and now the Mills Corporation into following his lead in sinking major “jing” into White Plains’ future.

Mills Corporation, like Fortunoff, has a solid record of success. They know what people like, and how to keep them coming back. They currently own and manage Franklin Mills in Philadelphia; Arundel Mills in Anne Arundel County, Maryland; Potomac Mills, Prince William, Virginia; Concord Mills, Concord, North Carolina; Discover Mills outside Atlanta; Opry Mills in Nashville; Katy Mills in Houston and Grapevine Mills in Dallas, Texas; Colorado Mills in Denver; Arizona Mills in Tempe; And are developing The Piers on San Francisco Bay, St. Louis Mills in Hazeltine, Missouri; 108 North State Street, Chicago; and Vaughn Mills, Ontario, Canada.

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Santa Cappelli Starts a Tradition with Lighting of The First City Center Tree

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WPCNR DOWNTOWN JOURNAL. December 10, 2002: Louis Cappelli was Master of Ceremonies at what he expects to be the first of many City Center Holiday Tree lightings Tuesday afternoon as an 18- foot sprightly and doughty pine tree dressed up for the holidays was lit on top of its perch on the girders of the growing City Center facade.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, CAPPELLI! White Plains got into the holiday spirit City Center style Tuesday afternoon as Santa arrived by red Mercedes, WPCNR reporters on the scene observed, as the first City Center Tree was lit. Geof Thompson, Cappelli Enterprises spokesperson said it was Mr. Cappelli’s hope that the City Center tree would become as much a tradition in White Plains as the Rockefeller Center tree is in New York City. Future location of the tree will be the proposed ice rink across the street from City Hall.
Photo by WPCNR CappelliCam

LIGHTS, CAMERA, GREER, BRADLEY! Lingering after the ceremony were City Councilman Robert Greer and Assemblyman Elect, Adam Bradley, soon to be on his way to the State Legislature. The two veteran political warriors’ good spirits and air of optimism and hope in conversation with WPCNR were early indicators that the mission of the City Center and it new City Center tree had begun to work their magic of cheer and renewal in the holiday season.

Photo by WPCNR CappelliCam

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National Mall Collector Purchases The Galleria

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS MONEY. From Paul Wood, City Economic Development Officer. December 10, 2002:The Galleria, White Plains’ 4-floor, big block, venerable twenty-two year old center city mall on the west side of the city on Main Street, has been sold by its Toronto-based owners, Cadillac-Fairview, to Mills Corporation of Arlington, Virginia.

The Galleria has undergone extensive renovation the last three years, and recently welcomed in Sears to replace its JC Penney tenant, after a year of searching for a tenant. The Galleria is one of five properties Cadillac-Fairview has sold to Mills, the national mall “collector.”

Paul Wood, City Economic Development officer, provided sketchy background on the new corporate investor in 21st century White Plains, describing Mills as a developer who acquires successful malls, “brands” them with an upscale image, and makes them more successful.

Information provided by Mr. Wood, reports that The Galleria, along with the other four properties being moved has approximately 90% of its space occupied, with average sales of $370 per square foot (in 2001), at time of sale.

In a news release from Mills Corporation, its President, Jim Napoli is quoted as saying “We have a program in place to evaluate each property’s retail and entertainment mix and unlock its value for our retailers, entertainment partners, consumers and shareholders.”

Laurence C. Siegel, Mills’ Chairman on the Cadillac Fairview acquisitions: “Mills has ong been known for creating dominant retail and entertainment destinations under the “Mills” branded flag…we are applying to more conventional full-priced retail venues the principles that have differentiated us in the marketplace. Those include our consumer-focused theming and branding, our unique relationships with the broadest pool of retail and entertainment partners, our special corporate and strategic relationships and our global perspective. Examples of this vision include our blockbuster Meadowlands development project…”

The deal is expected to be closed, according to Mills Corporation on January 31, next month.

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Spano & 20 Schools Meet Thursday on Underage Drinking Crisis: Amnesty Suggested

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WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. From Westchester County Department of Communications. (EDITED) December 10, 2002, UPDATED December 11, 2002:As of today, 38 high schools, including the White Plains Superintendent of Schools, Timothy Connors, and 26 police departments have said they expect to be represented at County Executive Andy Spano’s summit on teen drinking to be held tomorrow at the Westchester County Center.

They will explore three preliminary initiatives of County Executive Andy Spano, as well as offer suggestions of their own, including one of an offer of amnesty from suffering the consequences of school disciplinary procedures, to encourage reporting of medical emergencies.

The summit, which Spano announced in October, will bring together principals, students, parents and police. It will take place at the Westchester County Center. The participants will first meet in separate groups with their peers, and at 10 a.m. Spano will convene them into a large group where discussion will continue.
Spano has put on the table for discussion several initiatives. These are:

1. School Amnesty Policy: A proposal for a school amnesty policy that can be adopted by public and private schools. The policy would encourage teens to call for help for alcohol-related medical emergencies by providing amnesty from the consequences of violating school policies. When teen drinking turns into a medical emergency, the first concern must be to protect the health and safety of the young people involved.

“Medical amnesty does not mean that we condone the act of drinking among teens, but that we want to remove all potential barriers that would prevent a young person from securing the necessary help for a friend,” Spano said.

2. Stiffer Penalties from Albany. A proposal to increase the penalties for underage possession of alcohol with intent to consume. At the moment, public possession with intent to consume is a violation of the Alcohol Beverage Control and Vehicle and Traffic Law.

It provides minimal penalties such as referral to an alcohol awareness program or a $50 fine. This proposal explores the possibility of raising the penalties. This proposal would require action of the state Legislature, and could be included in the county’s annual State Legislative Package.

3. Make Public Intoxication by 16-and-overs a Crime. A proposal to make public intoxication by a minor a violation of the law. This proposal explores the possibility of making underage public intoxication a violation of the law, thereby increasing the options available to law enforcement, encouraging parental involvement, and providing a way for intoxicated teens to get help.

This proposal would require action of the state Legislature and also could be included in the county’s legislative package.

This proposal is aimed at dealing with instances where teens have been drinking publicly but no alcohol can be found in their possession.

This proposal could only apply to people 16 years and over, because younger children are not dealt with by the criminal system, but are treated as Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS).

Review of County Efforts and “Best Practices”

As a follow up to the conference, participants will receive a list of “best practices” that are being implemented in schools and communities throughout Westchester. Hearing what works in other areas will help communities shape dynamic and effective programs for themselves.

Westchester County has been a leader in developing and implementing prevention efforts including:

• Over 3,400 hours of overtime patrol in nearly 40 municipalities directly contributing close to $200,000 towards enforcing DWI laws with another $160,000 budgeted for the remainder of this fiscal year

• Nearly $300,000 in educational assistance including literature, educational videotapes and aids, as well as student activities made available to every high school in Westchester County.

• The ROADD (Reduce Our Adolescent Drinking/Drugging and Driving) Program in 12 high schools reaching over 1,400 students annually

• April 2000, a county-sponsored conference with school nurses to deal with symptoms of acute intoxication

• May 2000, a conference for professionals on teen binge-drinking

• February 2001, a conference for doctors and nurses in emergency rooms dealing with acute drinking

• April 2001, a kickoff of the Teen Drinking Action Council, for high school students, and ongoing activities of the council

• May 2001, a conference for hotel managers in advance of proms

• April 2002, a leadership event for 200 middle school students

• Annually, assembly programs in 10 high schools and 10 middle schools

• Annual “STOP-DWI” conference for Police Officers

• Annual SADD leadership lunches for students

• Annual poster contests for students

• Prom fashion show featuring teen leaders in drinking/driving prevention

• Production and countywide distribution of fact sheets on alcohol poisoning, parenting for prevention, and zero tolerance

• Annual letter to limousine and bus companies during prom season

• Information distributed each prom season to schools for parents and students

• “Reality Walls” in at least 20 schools throughout Westchester

Spirit of the Conference

Executive Spano commented:

“While teen drinking is nothing new, the current attention to this problem has brought to light the need to step up local efforts to prevent underage drinking and related consequences,” said Spano. “At this summit we will be asking participants to let us know what they think of some preliminary proposals we have distributed as well as to offer ideas of their own.”

He added, “There are many agencies and officials that are now involved in this issue. This is good – the more awareness, the better.”

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