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Morning Edition, Filed 1-31-02, 7:15 AM: As temperatures hold above freezing, The National Weather Service cautions motorists about the possibility of freezing rain-sleet-to-all-rain segue this afternoon and evening. White Plains motorists should motor with caution.
341 AM EST THU JAN 31 2002





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Scarsdale Planners Raise Key Questions On Senior Housing

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DRIVE TIME EDITION filed 1-30-02, 2:45 PM: The Scarsdale Planning Board raised tough questions Monday evening about the nature of the Realm LLC proposed seniors project planned for a 7-acre “wooded and wetlanded” site adjacent to the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester property off Saxon Woods Road.
Realm LLC is now responding to the Scarsdale Planning Board queries.

According to reports from WPCNR correspondents observing the meeting, the Scarsdale Planning Board members followed a line of questioning following issues raised by the City of White Plains officials when the matter was before the same board last year.

PROPOSED SENIORS HOUSING OR NURSING HOME SITE OFF SAXON WOODS ROAD: Realm, LLC is proposing a 300-unit senior citizen complex, the nature of which is yet unclear, for this 7-acre section in Saxon Woods. The Mamaroneck River and bridge in the right foreground of the picture are in the City of White Plains. An entrance road and water and electrical connections would go through this area to access and power up the site. The property beyond the Mamaroneck River, is in Scarsdale, subject to Scarsdale zoning.
Photo by WPCNR

Observers at the meeting in Scarsdale Town Hall Monday described the meeting as a “work session.” The public was not allowed to comment. The procedure followed was Elizabeth Marrinan, Village Planner, “went around the room,” asking the planning board members if they had questions for the developer, Realm, LLC.

Nature of Who Would Own Facility Raises Tax Questions.

One member raised the issue of who would actually own the site, Realm or the Jewish Nursing Home & Hospital, whether it is a franchise or an outright ownership. Another question raised was the tax status, whether it is nonprofit, or is simply private senior multi-unit housing, which is not permitted, according to our source by Scarsdale zoning code.

The WPCNR observer commented on the significance of the planning board member’s question: If it is a nursing home and a nonprofit, he said then it requires permits from the state. He said, Realm representatives are on record as stating that the facility needs no permits from the state to operate. Our reporter says this raises the issue of whether the Scarsdale Zoning Code considers a senior housing complex (for profit), or assisted living complex, as a nursing home (non-profit). Our knowledgeable reporter familiar with Scarsdale zoning observed to us that if the complex is a nursing home, this means the “Senior Mystery-Housing” does need permits from the State Department of Health to operate.

ROUGH SKETCH OF SITE SHOWING LOCATION OF SENIOR MYSTERY HOUSING: This sketch was presented to the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester (7 Saxon Wood Road) last year, by Realm, LLC, when Realm approached the Society to build a pedestrian walk to the bus stop on Mamaroneck Avenue. Mamaroneck Avenue is at the bottom of the sketch. The Ethical Culture Society reports to WPCNR that Realm owns the home on the proposed site.
Photo by WPCNR

Planning Board Notes Utilities Come From White Plains, Wants Update on Realm’s Progress with City.

Our source said that another planning board member asked about Realm contacting the City of White Plains for the permits needed to supply water and electricity to the complex, and that this needs to be addressed by Realm. Another matter is the need to widen Saxon Woods Road to accommodate the traffic to the complex, which was recommended by White Plains Traffic Commissioner Ted Gammon.

No Site Plan has Been Presented to White Plains

As of Tuesday, according to WPCNR information, Realm has not started the formal application process, which includes a site plan, for the 14 building and construction permits required from the City of White Plains.

Realm has been in contact twice on related matters involving the flood plain in the area connected with The Living Word church site, and engineering protocols involving application procedures.

ETHICAL SOCIETY HOPEFUL OF PRESERVING TREE LINE: Here is the view from the Ethical Society of Westchester property line looking into the proposed construction site. An Ethical Society spokesperson said the Society was hopeful Realm could preserve the pine tree grove that serves as a natural buffer to the Realm “Senior Mystery Housing” proposal. The Society source said the 7-acre site is filled with rocky crags, some wetlands and is heavily wooded. The spokesperson said, the Society has no problem with Realm building the project.
Photo by WPCNR

The Process Continues

According to our CNR correspondent, the next step in the process will find Realm responding to the questions of the Scarsdale Planning Board, the lead agency on the project. The Scarsdale Planning Board, supposing their questions are answered will most likely move to approve the Final Environmental Impact Statement, and then, they have a choice of granting approval conditionally on working things out with White Plains or rejecting the project.

Village Planner of Scarsdale, Elizabeth Marrinan, told WPCNR Monday evening she would forward an official listing of the Planning Board’s concerns Realm is being asked to address before the Final Environmental Impact Statement is approved.

Planning Department of White Plains On Highest Level of Alert.

The Planning Department of the City of White Plains has issues concerning the sliver of the site that is within White Plains. This is the area from the Mamaroneck River to Saxon Woods Road. The Planning Department of White Plains considers it as environmentally sensitive, involving wetlands and the ecology of the Mamaroneck River. The proposed use for which the road gaining entry to the proposed complex, whatever its nature, violates White Plains Zoning, which does not permit either nursing homes or multi-unit housing on the site.

Westchester County Does Not Have Site In Mind for Open Space Acquisition.

WPCNR asked the Westchester County Communications Office if the Saxon Woods site was being considered for open space acquisition as part of the County on-going initiative to preserve natural areas. We were informed the site was “not on the radar scope at this time,” but that the county is standing by whenever a community requests its aid in preserving open space.

Suggested for Acquisition by County According to Website Open Space Acquisition List

In checking the Westchester County website, today, WPCNR discovered that Westchester County has listed a 2 to 7 acre site in Scarsdale in Saxon Woods as a likely target for acquisition for preservation. The site is on the list as “suggested” sites for county consideration, sent in by residents, according to the Communications Office.

On the county website, a resident of the Saxon Woods area gives a vivid description of the only 2 to 7 acre site he knows existing in this area and he describes the Realm-targeted property. The comment may be viewed at www.westchestergov.com, by clicking on the Open Space Acquisition button.

A spokesperson for the Communications Office, Donna Green, said the site had been suggested originally by the Ethical Culture Society a number of years previously, however, there has been no communication from either White Plains or the Village of Scarsdale to the county suggesting the County seriously consider acquiring it for open space inventory since then.
Photographs taken for this report were executed from the Ethical Society Property with permission.

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The Search Is On! “Leadership Profile” Presented, Accepted by Board

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Midnight Watch Edition:The Board of Education received Hazard Young Attea & Associates “Leadership Profile Tuesday evening. Consultants Deborah Raizes and Dr. John Whritner presented a 10-page report providing a concise, detailed mosaic of their 32 meetings with the White Plains community before 20 persons at Education House. The report draws a portrait of tje “Super Superintendent” they hope to woo to White Plains.
Deborah Raizes introduced the report to the Board of Education by saying that “the more we’ve met with your community, the more optimism we have for your district.”

She prefaced her presentation of the HYA report by saying, “John (Whritner) and I have been doing searches for four years. Never in the four years have we met with so many people. Your community is so interested in your schools.” She said this would be a very positive factor that she cannot wait to tell potential superintendents, and will attract excellent candidates to the district.

HAZARD YOUNG ATTEA CONSULTANTS DELIVER THEIR REPORT TO WHITE PLAINS: Dr. Deborah Raizes, center, and Dr. John Whritner, right, behind the podium Tuesday night, delivering their Leadership Profile sketching the kind of superintendent they would be searching for in the next six weeks. They targeted the end of March for presenting six candidates to the Board. At Left, is Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board, whom the consultants thanked for her extraordinary help in presenting the report and liaison with the community. Susan Kirkpatric, Board member is at extreme left.
Photo by WPCNR

Consistency of How White Plains Thinks is Striking
Raizes said the report was organized based on identifying consistencies and that White Plains’ unity in understanding the strengths of the district was most unusual. She said that normally their reports in previous searchers have been much longer identifying a long list of individual comments, from a number of groups with few qualities mentioned very often. In White Plains, she said, “So much of what people (from diverse groups) have said is CONSISTENT.”

A diverse sampling agrees on what they like

Raizes said that she, Dr. Whritner, Dr. Diana McCauley and Maria Cabral spoke with 658 people, had meetings with Board Members, central office personnel, teachers, union leaders, administrators, realtors, parents, students, support staff, and city government officials.

Meetings at Centro Hispano and Bethel Baptist Church lured over 200 residents at each venue. She reported they had received 179 completed questionnaires asking for strengths, concerns, and characteristics persons would want to see in a superintendent. This vast raw comment produced widespread agreement on what persons saw as strengths of the district.

Strengths Identified

Raizes identified the strengths that were “consistent,” throughout the data they collected from all groups.

The strengths are: breadth of course offerings, dedicated staff, diversity of the student body and city, extensive offerings for student enrichment and extra-curricular programs, facilities and “long-standing” community support for schools, and human and financial resources.

Some individual groups targeted specific pluses: Teachers of the district said that Staff Development was a strength, and Support Staff singled out Student Assistance programs. Parents praised the School Choice program. The Community at large praised the District Administration and, again, School Choice.

Concerns for District Raised with Consensus

John Whritner took the podium next and echoed Raizes’ comments about how “unusual” the consistency of White Plains’ responses is, and complimented the city on its sense of “purpose.”

Whritner said this carried over into the Concerns they found in the sampling, and what the community wished for in a superintendent.

Whritner said the respondents and meeting comments said they lacked trust in the Board of Education. They expressed concern about “Bright Flight,” diversity of the student body and meeting state standards with a changing student body.

The veteran superintendent, said another consistent worry was that Non-English speaking population is increasing, “with 36% of the student body Hispanic, there was a need for additional and more appropriate programs.”

State Testing was singled out “across the board,” Whritner said both the pressure it puts on students and poor results. Public relations was faulted, with the feeling the district has failed to “toot its own horn,” about its strengths.

Unique Concerns with certain groups included the Board of Education having “increased expectations for all students,” the Administration’s concerns about morale and staff turnover. Teachers and Parents noted the addition of many new staff and the “large number” of new administrators. Support Staff was concerned about State and Federal mandates.

The Community (other than parents) indicated low test scores, need for parental involvement, safety, and holding tenured staff accountable as key concerns. Students expressed the concern that the Guidance Department was “overloaded.”

What Kind of Superintendent Does the Community want? A Charismatic, Proven Persuader-Leader

The Leadership Profile finds the same consistency in the kind of Leadership and style the community seeks in the next Superintendent, and the wish list reads like everyone’s idea of the “super superintendent.” The report summary is eloquent:

In looking at Criteria, there is a majority sense that the new CEO of the White Plains Public Schools should have successful experience as a superintendent, preferably in a district with a diverse population. This was an area of agreement between members of the Board and other respondent groups.

In looking at expertise, as might be expected, people are looking for someone who can resolve conflict and is a communicator. They seek someone adept at public relations.

Healer wanted.

Interestingly, representatives from the faculty, the Board and the community, spoke of the need for someone with classroom teaching experience. These groups also highlighted intelligence and a strong academic background as preferences. Community members also want someone who will hold the staff accountable.

In looking at style, respondents noted that they want someone who truly believes that all children should learn. All groups are desirous of a healer who can bring the community and the board back together. There is great support for having an educational leader who listens to others, is collaborative in style and is a “people person.”

Community and staff are united in seeking someone who is visible in the schools and in the community. All groups spoke of wanting someone who is approachable and personable and who can create a vision for the system and move everyone toward that vision.

Community rift over Yanofsky Departure seen at a “turning of the corner.”

Whritner commented in the report and his concluding remarks that the community feeling “wounded” over the Yanofsky affair was still there, but that he “sensed a turning of the corner,” that the persons they met were concentrating on the business of selecting a new superintendent. He said the community takes great pride in the district and its “success over the years,” and it is well-deserved . Whritner said he feels White Plains is “a very attractive place for a superintendent’s consideration.”

”Bright Flight” a Concern of Minorities and the Majority

He said the whole issue of “testing” raised concerns of minorities that given the resources, and high salaries of the teachers, that they should be doing better. By the same token, parents of bright students of both minorities and the white majority were concerned not enough was being done to challenge their students. He described this phenomenon as “Bright Flight.”

Ernest Prince, President of the Urban League of Westchester, asked if Whritner did not mean “White Flight,” instead of “Bright Flight.” Whritner answered that minority parents, as well as white parents expressed concern that they were thinking of taking their students out of the White Plains schools in the higher achieving classes because they did not think they were being challenged. Whritner said this was a concern of parents who worried that the balance of the district was being lost. So, Whritner said, he coined the term, “Bright Flight.”

Prince appeared impressed with this comment, and asked if Whritner meant seeking a goal of “the best program for all levels of the system.” Whritner agreed, pointing out that the Hispanic student coming to the district had to be able to have “a quick-in to the main stream.” Prince liked the answer saying to Whritner it was important that people realize that “We (minority groups) are not talking about lowering the floor, but raising the bar.”

Candidates to remain a mystery until last possible moment

Donna McLaughlin, President of the Board of Education, expressed lament about the candidates possibly not being revealed to the community sooner rather than later. She asked the consultants if other districts were going down this road that Hazard Young recommends, (withholding identity of candidates).

Raizes said, “:more and more, nobody likes it. We are just finishing Fairfield and Bloomfield, Connecticut and have gotten really quality slates. It’s possible (they might agree to publicity), but they might not. You may lose some great people. Some (candidates) won’t even fill out an application.”

A feeling of a beginning

After just 35 minutes, the meeting ended and broke up with a pleasant atmosphere of discussion among the twenty parents and one reporter on hand. Most appeared quite impressed by the breadth of concerns and depth of detail the report presented. There was no comment from the Board of Education about the report, but another WPCNR operative attending said she had asked a Board member why they had not commented, and they had replied that they had received the report last Friday and discussed it with the consultants at that time. Our colleague added that the Board member said they expected to be coached by the consultants as to how to interview the candidates presented.

The Search is On.

Dr. Whritner, speaking to WPCNR after the meeting said three or four superintendents had been contacted already for leads on possible interested superintendents. He said that William Attea, a partner in HYA was President of the Suburban School Superintendents Assocation, an organization of 100 superintendents, which he felt may provide some strong leads. He reports that HYA representatives will be going to the School Adminstrators Association convention in San Diego, armed with the Raizes Whritner report and will be scouting for candidates. Whritner said he would be available to comment on the progress of the search to WPCNR throughout the process.

Raizes, a “get-it-done doer” if this reporter has ever seen one, earlier expressed the most optimism, saying, “the superintendents we will be contacting are very happy where they are. That’s why we’re headhunters. We’re on the more aggressive side. We will keep working on them. They took our phone call, and that’s a yes.”

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Bank Street: Plenty Hotels to Go Around, Commons Has Got its Footings.

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High Noon News, 1-28-02, 12:15 EST: LCOR, developer of Bank Street Commons, the twin residential skyrise apartments and hotel complex, now under way at the former site of the White Plains Railroad Station sees the Ritz-Carlton interest in the Cappelli project as a plus to their project in a statement to WPCNR by Peter Gilpatric Friday.
Gilpatric in an official statement said, “We are delighted that a hotel operator of the caliber of Ritz-Carlton shares our belief that White Plains is a wise investment. As Bank Street Commons, the new Ritz-Carlton hotel and other yet-to-be-announced developments move forward, they help enhance the city’s reputation, livability and viablility as a business location. Hotels ensure activity after other commercial uses have closed for the day and are an important amenity to any downtown.”

The Bank Street Commons complex is Underway.

BANK STREET COMMONS QUIETLY BEGINS: The view from Main Street into the Bank Street Commons construction theater. Massive footings for the North residential spire are being poured and can be seen in the right foreground with their wooden frames used to form the massive blocks to support the building.

Photo by WPCNR

Bank Street Commons is “In the Money.”

Land acquisition and financing for a spectacular addition to downtown White Plains has been completed, paving the way for the development of two new residential towers. The $137 million residential complex, to be known as Bank Street Commons, is being developed by LCOR Inc. on a 2.6-acre site adjacent to the Metro-North Railroad Station.

VIEW OF THE BANK STREET COMMONS STAGING AREA FROM THE SOUTH: The south view from Bank Street into the Bank Street Commons construction sit. Massive footings for the North residential spire are being poured and can be seen distance on the Main Street wall of the pit.

Photo by WPCNR

The White Plains Urban Renewal Agency has completed the sale of the property to the designated redeveloper RMAP, a partnership between Robert Martin and Jack Parker, which in turn transferred its interests to the LCOR development entity. The property was once the site of the White Plains train station.

Mayor Joseph Delfino

Photo by WPCNR

In a statement on the recent finalization of the financing, Mayor Joseph Delfino characterized the announcement of the signing: “This is a great hour for White Plains as we transform the so-called ‘Hole-in-the-Ground’ into a most valuable resource for this City. We’re pleased to be able to work with LCOR to create this new center of activity and living.”

:ARTIST’S RENDERING OF THE DUAL TOWER AND HOTEL COMPLEX: The view is from the East (Bank Street) towards Battle Hill.From the Marino Organization

The Commons’ two apartment buildings, already with a waiting list accumulating, will offer 500 rental apartments, 30 of which will be affordable housing units through an agreement with the City of White Plains. About half of the apartments will be one bedroom, and the other half will be two bedroom.

The one-bedroom apartments average 725 square feet and offer large kitchens and large walk-in closets. The two-bedroom apartments average between 1,000 and 1,150 square feet of space. The larger two-bedroom apartments will offer two bathrooms, as well as island kitchens and walk-in closets. All of the apartments will be fully wired and ready for Internet access, and will include washers and dryers.

One of the apartment buildings will be 21 stories with 2400 square feet of ground floor retail ideal for a specialty convenience store. The second apartment building will be 22 stories with 3,500-4,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, ideally suited for a restaurant. A 500-car parking facility will be located below a common plaza linking the two buildings. The project will feature 24-hour lobby and concierge services.

A Step up, steps from the Train

The project will feature amenities for apartment residents including a swimming pool, health club, conference/events room, business center and private storage spaces.

“Bank Street Commons will be an impressive addition to downtown White Plains, providing first-class residential living opportunities,” reported Peter Gilpatric, LCOR Senior Vice President.

Hotel on Horizon

In addition to the residential towers, the project includes a site plan approved development pad for a 100,000-square-foot hotel with up to 200 rooms. LCOR and RMAP are partners in developing the hotel site and are actively seeking a hotel owner/operator interested in the site.

The hotel will feature above ground parking for up to 250 cars, and has the capacity to accommodate as much as 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Additionally, the hotel will provide self-contained amenities including a pool and health club. LCOR and RMAP have had preliminary discussions with several hotel owner-operators and hope to reach an agreement in the first or second quarter of 2002.

Bank Street Commons is situated adjacent to Metro-North’s White Plains Station, providing easy access for commuters. The Westchester Financial Center is within easy
walking distance. The downtown White Plains shopping district, as well as Westchester’s well-known shopping malls, also are within walking distance.

“Bank Street Commons’ easy access to the nearby Metro-North station will create a truly transit-oriented development that will bring new residents and visitors to White Plains in a manner that enhances and utilizes the existing transportation infrastructure,” Gilpatric said.


MASSIVE CONCRETE FOOTINGS ON VIEW FOR THE NORTH TOWER: The view from Main Street at some of the partially poured massive footings which will support the Bank Street spires. The wooden frames are the molds that will form the concrete foundation

Photo by WPCNR

Construction activity already has begun and foundations are being prepared. LCOR has engaged HRIT construction as the project construction manager. Additionally, over $2 million in off-site work is being undertaken to facilitate construction access to the site, and add extra lanes on Main Street and Bank Street. The project is expected to be completed and available for occupancy in the spring of 2003.

FINISHED FOOTINGS FORM NORTHEAST CORNER FOUNDATION FOR NORTH TOWER: The view into the Hole in the Ground of the completion of the first of the monumental footings for the Commons towers.

Photo by WPCNR

The Players and The Stakes

The $137 million residential project has been financed with a contribution of equity and debt. LCOR has entered into a joint venture agreement with JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management, on behalf of its institutional clients, to fund the equity for the project.

Key Bank, through its Westchester office, is funding the project construction debt. Additionally, Westchester County Industrial Development Agency is providing benefits through its straight lease structure.

The hotel development has not been financed and will be when the owner/operator has been identified.

LCOR profile

LCOR is a national development, asset management and operations management company specializing in large real estate projects and in public/private partnerships. LCOR’s New York office has recently completed the development of Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport, and has been designated to develop two other significant projects in the region, Queens Port at Queens West and JFK Corporate Square in Jamaica, Queens. In Westchester, LCOR is an owner of the 750,000 square foot Science and Technology Park, The Landmark at Eastview.

As a part of J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management is a global asset management leader providing world-class investment solutions to corporations, governments, institutions, endowments, foundations and individuals.

over $600 billion in global assets under management, JPMorgan Fleming offers global reach, local presence, and product leadership in every asset class for defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, segregated accounts, proprietary and third party mutual funds, and high net worth individuals.

Its 30-year history of successful investing and more than 100 real estate professionals who manage both private and public real estate portfolios evidence JPMorgan Fleming’s commitment to real estate. JPMorgan Fleming’s broad investment capabilities and framework for analyzing opportunities in today’s complex real estate markets provides critical insights for its institutional clients. Real estate research at JPMorgan Fleming draws on the work of economists, capital markets researchers, equity analysts, and fixed income specialists with strategic investment decisions being derived from all inputs.

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Head of NYPH Empire Discloses Plans on WPW Friday 7:30 on 71

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Morning Edition 1-28-02, 10:30 EST On the eve of the continuation of the New York Presbyterian Hospital public hearing next week on building two research facilities on the Bryant Avenue side of their property, Dr. Arthur Klein, Chief Operating Officer of the Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital health system, comprising 50 facilities in the New York metropolitan area, is interviewed by John Bailey of WPCNR, Alex Philippidis, Editor of Westchester County Business Journal, and Jim Benerofe, editor of SuburbanStreet.com on White Plains Week, the city news roundup program on Channel 71 Friday evening at 7:30 PM.

THE “WHITE PLAINS WEEK” LINEUPTONIGHT: Dr. Arthur Klein,Head of the Cornell-Columbia Presyterian Health Care System, is interviewed on White Plains Week. Here, seen relaxing after the show are: L to R, Alex Philippidis, Westchester County Business Journal, Constance Hildesley, Vice President, Real Estate, NYPH, John Bailey, Host, WPCNR, Dr. Arthur Klein, COO of the hospital system, and Jim Benerofe, Editor of Suburban Street.com.
Photo by Rita Santos, Channel 71

Dr. Arthur Klein, Chief Operating Officer of the Cornell, Columbia Presyterian hospital system, discusses the future plans of his 50-facility empire on the city news roundup show, White Plains Week. In the course of the interview, Dr. Klein said that the hospital anticipates their new facilities being used in clinical trials (actual patient treatment) involving new technologies, new drugs, and treatments for heart disease and cancer treatment.

He discusses the nature of health research today, and presents the possibility of the campus becoming a research enclave enabling the Northeast to compete with places like Palo Alto and Raleigh, North Carolina which attract cutting edge medical research now. He projects the possibility of more buildings beyond the two already being planned on the hospital site, though that future expansion will develop as research needs come to the hospital, and none are being planned now.

Dr. Klein advised that cancer specialists in the area are becoming aware of and accepting of the need for the proton accelerator facility planned for one of the buildings on the hospital site.

Tune in Friday evening on Channel 71 at 7:30 PM for the complete interview.

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Amy Paulin’s Albany: Staying Strong on Terrorism

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Amy Paulin’s Albany,Filed 1-26-02 6 PM EST: White Plains Assemblywoman Amy Paulin advises White Plains on the Albany response to terrorism.

WPCNR is pleased the Honorable Ms. Paulin has chosen WPCNR to bring us this column, and we hope it is the first of many. In the following she gives us a legislator’s view about what Albany bills on Terrorism do. Their provisions are worth noting closely.

Report to White Plains and the 88th District from Your Assemblywoman

The atrocities of the September 11th attacks struck our neighbors and families hard – more than two dozen residents in our Assembly District were killed in the World Trade Center tragedy. They left behind family members who are still trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. My own niece was fortunate enough to escape, but I know the worry that comes with wondering if a loved one is safe.

Creating stronger penalties to ensure our safety

We learned a painful lesson from these attacks – we need stronger laws to deal with potential threats to our safety and security. To punish those who would jeopardize our safety and security, I supported the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 (Chapter 300 of the Laws of 2001), which established severe penalties for committing terrorist acts, including:

• making it a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison for making a terrorist threat;

• creating penalties of up to 15 years for soliciting or providing support for terrorism; and

• making it a crime punishable by up to 25 years for hindering terrorist prosecutions – whether it’s harboring a terrorist, providing them with money or transportation, or concealing physical evidence.

I also supported laws that make falsely reporting a bomb threat and placing a false bomb a violent felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison (Chapter 301 of the Laws of 2001 and Chapter 302 of the Laws of 2001). While no piece of legislation can provide an absolute guarantee of our safety, I believe these tough new laws will go a long way towards safeguarding our families and neighborhoods.

Providing relief to September 11th victims

After the events of September 11th, my Assembly colleagues and I moved swiftly to see to it that those families traumatized by the attacks didn’t have to face financial ruin. I supported a $200 million legislative package that would provide tax relief to victims, rescue workers and property owners to help them get on with their lives. I realize that no amount of monetary compensation can replace a lost family member, but we must do all we can to help ease the burden.

This year the Legislature will consider additional measures to fight terrorism. I look forward to increased cooperation between the Assembly, the Senate, and the governor as we work to protect New Yorkers from terrorists – and make progress on other issues important to Westchester families.

Amy Paulin,

Assemblywoman, 88th Assembly District, White Plains and Scarsdale.

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Sabbath Services for Persons With Developmental Disabilities

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A new outreach to developmentally disabled persons is beginning in February at Bet Am Shalom Synagogue in White Plains.
The Havorah Program of Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) and Bet Am Shalom Synagogue invite persons with developmental disabilities to Sabbath Services on Saturday, February 16, 2002, from 1:30 – 2:15 PM at Bet Am, 295 Soundview Avenue, White Plains.

The WJCS Havorah Program is designed to connect children, adolescents, and adults who are developmentally disabled with their Jewish heritage and customs.

All are welcome and admission is free.

For information and reservations, call Gail Oliver, 845-565-8610.

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Cappelli Asks To Eliminate one Floor, Opening Possibility of Hotel. Council Warm

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Night Edition, 1-25-02, 4:00 AM EST: The Common Council reserved decision on Louis Cappelli’s request to lower the size of the City Center from 5 floors to 4, but did not voice strong reservations.
The Super Developer said he was closing on his financing with the Canadian International Bank of Commerce on February 10, and revealed he was exploring “partnering” with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel with designs for the hotel coming within 60 days.

LOOK, WE TAKE OFF THE TOP FLOOR HERE, AND THAT GIVES US 17 MORE RENTABLE APARTMENTS IN THE NORTH TOWER ON MAIN STREET HERE…Louis Cappelli, the Super Developer, his eyes lit with the future, describes the site plan amendment proposal he desires to the Common Council Thursday evening. He wants to eliminate 150,000 square feet of Floor Area Ratio retail, by eliminating the fifth floor, in hopes of using it to build a luxury hotel on the Martine Avenue side of the building. The 20 feet drop in height, adds an additional 17 marketable apartments, bringing the total residential units to 620, with more expected depending on configuration of the south apartment spire.

Photo by WPCNR.

Mr. Cappelli, dashing in midnight black suit, matching Gucci Loafers and cool purple tie, smoothly presented his case for lowering the City Center by a floor. He has not rented out the floor yet, and he has the Ritz-Carlton interested in bringing him in as a partner in a luxury hotel.

THE MAMARONECK AVENUE FACADE OF THE CITY CENTER, reduced by one floor, as presented by Mr. Cappelli Thursday evening. The Westchester Arts Council Building stands sentinel at the far right in counterpoint to the more dignified movie entrance in the center. Colors are not finalized according to Cappelli

Photo by WPCNR.

Romancing the Ritz

Cappelli said that approximately two weeks ago, the Ritz-Carlton Organization approached him showing an interest in intergrating a luxury 200-room hotel on the Martine Avenue side. He said they presented him a thick book of specifications, and he was agreeable.

For the last week and a half, he said, Frederick Bland, the Beyer Blinder Belle architect, has been working with Ritz-Carlton architects. Bland, Cappelli said, is incorporating a 200-room, 7-story U-shaped design into the “horseshoe” shape area between the former loft building and the South Cappelli 38-story apartment Spire.

HORSESHOE AREA WILL BE THE CENTER COURTYARD OF THE PROPOSED RITZ-CARLTON, which will rise 7 stories in a circle, Cappelli says, with all 200 rooms viewing the court in a semi-circle wraparound. A fountain will grace the middle of the horseshoe courtyard. The former loft building is being eliminated, replaced by the West wing of the hotel. Designs are expected within 60 days. Commissioner of Planning Susan Habel advised Cappelli he should show designs sooner, hopefully within 2 weeks, based on comments made by the Common Council in Executive Session.

Photo by WPCNR.

Ritz-Carlton and Cappelli negotiating a partnership.

Asked if he would own the hotel, Cappelli said “that hasn’t been worked out,” but he expects to own “a piece of the Ritz,” with the Carlton organization, which will manage the building. On the surface, this is a departure from the normal Ritz-Carlton arrangement. They usually manage, but do not own. Cappelli said he had also been contacted by the Intercontinental hotel chain (owners of the White Plains Crowne Plaza), and expected other hoteliers to express interest.

Some Cappelli Announcements

In making the pitch for his floor reduction, Cappelli announced that he had signed a contract with Target Stores Thursday afternoon at 3 PM, and had signed Circuit City to a contract Tuesday, and expects Legal Seafood in the fold within days. All properties have been acquired and the Fleet Bank building will be demolished next within two weeks.He has ordered structural steel for April delivery. All systems are “go,” he said.

MARTINE AVENUE SIDE OF THE NEW DESIGN, demonstrates how the Arts Council Building on left stands more regally setting off the edge of the hotel on far right.

Photo by WPCNR.

Council clearly impressed.

As Mr. Cappelli ticked off the positives to eliminating the fifth floor, the Council was just drinking it in. Rita Malmud was concerned about the site plan amendment, perhaps setting a precedent that other future developers might take advantage. Robert Greer noted that “you’re only asking for flexibility…”

Mr. Cappelli said the said the city was not losing any money by the FAR transfer, saying no reductions in Payments In Lieu of Taxes would be made, that he would stand by his $1.556 million dollar PILOT payment.

He also noted that should the hotel deal work out, the South Spire had the possibility of being turned into condominiums, since this is typical of Ritz-Carleton marketing expertise. Should the South Spire be cooperatized, this will provide windfall tax revenue to the city.

He disclosed that his partnership possibility with Avalon on the apartment spires was not going to happen because the design of the apartment buildings, enhanced by Mr. Bland, was too expensive. He and his bankers (CIBC’s group), are assuming ownership of the two apartment spires.

The Council met in Executive Session to consider Mr. Cappelli’s request.


Photo by WPCNR.

“You have some deep pockets walking around White Plains right now,” Cappelli said, cooly wrapping up his prime time show, mentioning other interests ready to invest in the city. “This city will be a different place in 7 years if you allow it to be.”

In other action..

The Common Council granted Tri-Kelly’s Pub and Thirsty Turtle the ability to run an outdoor patio, ending a 10-month struggle. However, the resolution granting the patio, deleted a clause requiring Tri-Kelly’s to insure Sloan Bar Association against damages resulting from use of their parking lot. The city Corporation Council Edward Dunphy advised the city it let them in for serious obligations if Tri-Kelly failed to live up to the agreement. The Mayor told the two attorneys from the two firms that it was a matter between two parties, and the city would not include the insurance provision.

The Council went into Executive Session to hear Arnold & Porter their independent attorneys on the New York Presbyterian Hospital proposal on the zoning question. The session was closed on the basis of it was revealing “attorney client privilege” according to Paul Wood, the city Information Officer.

No announcement was made about the Deputy Commissioner of Planning appointment expected shortly.

Tom Roach and Rita Malmud advocated for the city to invest in new voting machines to prevent more voting machine problems in the future. George Gretsas, Executive Officer noted that Janice Minieri, City Clerk had advised him that whatever changes the city made had to be compatible and integral with the Westchester County Board of Elections system.

Gretsas suggested to the council that New Jersey has been using electronic voting machines for about five years. He described the machines as push-button electronically operated voting machines that kept a permanent record, as well as a scanner magnetic record. They even have a cancel button, if you make a mistake in your selection, he said.

Tom Roach suggested that the Mayor volunteer White Plains as a prototype city for the county to test electronic voting machines. The Mayor said he would explore it with the county.

In December, Board of Elections Co-Commissioner, Reginald LaFayette told WPCNR he estimated it would cost the county $10 million to convert to electronic voting machines countywide.

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Judge Nicolai Will Not Set Election Until Appeal Issue Resolved. See Ya Feb. 7.

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High Noon News, Filed 1-24-02, 3:00 PM: Judge Francis Nicolai, Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court, Ninth District, refused to set a new election date to resolve the Larry Delgado-Glen Hockley disputed election Thursday morning.

The Judge adjourned the contending contendates’ entourages until February 7, pending candidate Hockley’s decision as to whether or not to appeal the Appellate Court decision of January 14.

That decision directed a new citywide election be held to decide whether Mr. Hockley or Mr. Delgado will occupy the seventh seat on the Common Council. Mr. Hockley has 30 days dating from January 14 to appeal to the state’s highest court.

Judge Nicolai Heads ‘Em Off at the Pass

With the :usual suspects appearing before him as directed by the Appellate Court in Brooklyn January 14, Judge Francis Nicolai wasted no time in getting to the point.

He asked Glen Hockley attorney, Adam Bradley, if he had made a decision to appeal the Appellate Court decision to the New York State Court of Appeals, and whether or not Mr. Bradley needed more time before an election date was set to consider that decision.

Hockley and Bradley Appreciate the Offer.

Bradley said, “We would appreciate time to make that decision. We are fully entertaining, seriously considering, going forward (appealing).” Bradley told the Judge, “we would like some clarification to when the election would be set.”

Thoughtfully, Judge Nicolai said, “The reluctance I have to set an election day, is we have no idea when and where you will have a decision from the Court of Appeals. You have a certain amount of time (to prepare for an election), and I’m reluctant to put the Board of Elections through the time and expense, and it’s a little bit premature to do that.”

Ciampoli says HOLD ON

John Ciampoli, attorney representing Larry Delgado, told the judge that the Court of Appeals usually decides within 24 hours whether or not they will hear a case. He felt there was no problem in setting an election date, and that the judge “not wait until the completion of the appeal process to do this (set a date).”

Judge Nicolai unconvinced.

He said that a delay was not to mean the Westchester County Board of Elections should not continue their “preliminary planning,” and admonished them to “get your ducks in a row” to hold the new election, as directed.

The Judge stated that “since a motion for a leave to appeal is more likely than not likely, I’m going to adjourn this matter.”

There was agreement between the parties that January 14 was the day the Appellate Court handed down their 3-1 denial of Mr. Hockley’s original appeal of Judge Nicolai’s December decision. That original Nicolai decision called for a new election in District 18 only. Mr. Hockley appealed that ruling on technical errors and the scope of the remedy.

Next, Judge Nicolai set February 7, as next date when the parties would reassemble before him for a possible determination of the election date.

Hockley team has to ask permission for the Court of Appeals to take a look.

Under New York state law, when you have one judge dissenting in the Appellate Court, an appellant must file a motion for a leave of appeal, asking the Court of Appeals to hear the case.

Had Mr. Hockley and Mr. Bradley achieved a 2-2 split from the Brooklyn Appellate team (only one, Judge Kraussman dissented), they would have been automatically entitled to be heard in the Court of Appeals.

Delgado’s attorney thinks his odds are good. He told WPCNR there were fifty cases involving election law before the Court of Appeals last year, which had filed Motions for Leave to Appeal. the Court agreed to hear only 2, according to Ciampoli, Delgado’s attorney.

“Mr. Bradley is entitled to time to decide.”

When Mr. Ciampoli interjected to dissuade Judge Nicolai, the judge said, “ I am not going to set an election date today. Mr. Bradley is entitled to time to decide (whether to appeal).”
Nicolai observed that assuming the Court of Appeals decides quickly, the February 7 date should provide time to hold the election in late March.

Ciampoli Asks When Bradley Will Make the Call.

Bradley said, “If, in fact, we go forward, February 7 is sufficient at that point in time,”(for him to consider and file the Motion for Leave.) I think you will know (our decision) and our filing before February 7.”

Judge Nicolai noted that if the Court of Appeals was still in play on February 7 there was no need for a court appearance, and adjourned the proceeding.

Another Cross Appeal Likely.

John Ciampoli, one of Larry Delgado’s attorney, said that if Mr. Hockley and Mr. Bradley file a motion for leave with the Court of Appeals, he would again, most likely file a cross appeal to “preserve his client’s rights,” as he had filed a cross appeal when the Hockley/Bradley party appealed to the Appellate Division. That cross appeal was a routine procedural, he says, to protect his client’s options.

The actual cross appeal filed in the Appellate Court, Ciampoli said, was to leave the door for the Appellate Court to customize a remedy for the court-identified broken machine in District 18.

Otherwise, Ciampoli said, the Appellate Court would not have been able to disagree with Judge Nicolai’s remedy, let alone adjust it. They would have been forced to throw it out, according to Ciampoli, since they disagreed with it, thus allowing the election night results to stand, ending Mr. Delgado’s hopes, ending the appeal, and, of course, putting Glen Hockley on the council.

Ciampoli pointed out that the cross appeal was an automatic legal tool that allowed the Appellate Court to intervene and adjust the remedy rather than throw it out and automatically give the election to Mr. Hockley.

Bradley praises Judge Nicolai

Bradley told WPCNR, he was pleased at “the understanding of the trial judge that this case does have very complex legal issues. He seems to know that it is a case to go to the Court of Appeals. He (Nicolai) wants to let the highest court render appeal determinations. The trial judge should be complimented for his recognition.”

Delgado despondent, determined..

“Councilman-in-Waiting” Glen Hockley agreed with his attorney’s comments, and refused further comment. However, “Councilman-on-Leave” Larry Delgado was despondent and quietly angry as he stood at the tables in front of Judge Nicolai’s bench taking in what had just happened.
He wondered outloud to everyone in earshot: “how long will the people of White Plains have to wait to cast their vote.” He complained that his opponent was “stalling,” that they have sought to delay the process every step of the process. He said, “Everybody in this room (the court room) knows they (his opponent) sought to prevent the voting machine from being inspected.” then appealed Judge Nicolai’s decision calling for an election that would have ended the matter December 18, “this is just another stall.”

Impoundment never lifted.

Ciampoli, strolling out of the courtroom remarked that technically, if the Hockley contention that a new index number was needed to continue the impoundment action, then the impoundment order is still in effect, and the voting machines cannot technically be reset for a new election until Delgado’s original impoundment order is rescinded.

Delgado team on a mission.

Ciampoli mentioned he was very confident election case law was behind his client. He had a different take on the Kraussman decision than his adversary Adam Bradley.

Ciampoli noted that Judge Robert Kraussman’s dissenting opinion was writting in a way that was “judge code” a “heads up” to the Court of Appeals that they have to take a look at the problem of additional court filing fees in filing procedures (simple fund-raising mechanisms) as being used to deny voter rights.

Board of Elections will continue preparations.

Co-Chairperson of the Westchester County Board of Elections Reginald LaFayette said the Board of Elections would continue preparations, lining up election inspectors for an approximate date, and prepare the machines.

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Ritz-Carlton at the City Center A New Marketing Direction

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The Morning Edition, Filed 1-23-02, 9:30 AM EDT:The Ritz-Carleton interest in establishing a Ritz presence in White Plains is part of a strategy of ringing key metropolitan areas with their luxury presence to cater to the upscale business traveler. The first edition of these 21st Century Ritz-Carletons opened in Boston last August.
No longer the pompous hushed retreat for the Brahmin Bulls, the Ritz-Carleton organization, renowned worldwide as the premier luxury hotel operating company embarked on a new strategy within the five years: opening luxury hip hotels for the newly rich and famous.

The first of these nouveau Ritz-Carletons opened in Boston last August
as the Ritz-Carleton at Boston Common.

Prototype for City Center?

The Ritz-Carleton at Boson Common has 193 rooms (the City Center concept envisions 175), and anchors the new Millennium Place. It is a prototype of the “non-traditional” hotels the Ritz is strategizing to establish for America’s business travelers. The hotel gloms on to an upscale retail/entertainment complex, similar to that envisioned by the City Center.

A state-of-leisure destination for the determined and demanding

The R-C at Boston Common creates an insulated atmosphere of opulent leisure complimented by state-of-the-art wired accommodations, business-oriented facilities. It provides appealing places to play, too.

The new Boston R-C furnishes the Sports Club/LA, the restaurant Jer-ne and a bar dedicated to a movie theme, called “The Back Lot,” ringed with seven large-screen TVs.

Ritz-Carleton is “hands-on.”

The parent Ritz-Carleton organization supplied over 60 trainers to prepare new employees before the debut new Ritz-Carleton opened in the Hub last September. This attention to detail of staff and service is the Ritz-Carleton management trademark. The Ritz-Carleton “Luxury Police” come in and oversee every detail of service technique, design, food, entertainment and architectural style with their corporate owners.

Can White Plains look forward to these amenities?

At the time of its opening the Ritz-Carleton at Boston Common planned to feature a guitarist playing classical guitar in front of the fire-place in the lobby, though at the Ritz, with a champagne cart tastefull and unobtrusively nearby for new guests to toast their arrival. Just what I need after a hard day covering City Hall!

Look out Westchester Arts Council!

The new Boston Common Ritz-Carleton is decorated with $1 million worth of art, according to its manager. If the new dream of a Ritz-Carleton Residences at White Plains crystalizes at the City Center, there may be a cultural transformation of the downtown that will dramatically set a new tone and legitimacy for the Fine Arts Theater and Community Theater Mr. Cappelli has committed to build in the City Center.

The Prix Fix for staying at the Ritz-Carleton in Boston?

Amenities (let’s not call them “rooms”), start at $495. For an extra $100, you can cool down on the ” club floor,” which provides its own exclusive lounge, butler service, and a start-your-day call that calls you, Mr. or Ms White Plains. You wake up to coffee or tea brought to your door. If you do not want to leave your bed, you can swivel the television by remote control.

What Ritz-Carleton may have in mind:

Obviously, the luxury-obcessed at the Ritz-Carleton have thought of other refinements in rich and powerful pamperage since they opened the Ritz-Carleton at Boston Common. They have just been waiting to play White Plains.

Other “perks” at the new Boston Ritz on the Club Level: a butler spiffs up your shoes, unpacks your carryon, or personally makes reservations for you at the Loews Theater in the Millenium Place “mixed-use” mall beneath the R-C at B.C. One can almost feel oneself ask “Montcalm,” my R-C valet to make reservations for a Robert Kahn, Joan Charischak or Susan Katz production in the Community Theater at the new City Center as I write this.

Oh, yes, the views!

The R.C. at B.C. provides the Presidential Suite with terrific panoramas of Boston Common. Could a Ritz-Carleton Cappelli may have a Cappelli Suite, perhaps on a pinnacle tower viewing North to Albany and South to New York City? Perhaps even a third tower?
The price tag on The Presidential Suite: $4,000-a-night. Talk about upscale!

Development Chief is Intrigued with White Plains

According to James M. Erlacher, the Vice President North American Development for Ritiz-Carleton, “Marriott agrees that the Westchester market could potentially support a Ritz-Carleton Hotel and Residences and that the White Plains City Center site and overall development would be conducive towards the development of a luxury hotel and residences.”

He wrote this state in a letter to Louis Cappelli Wednesday.

Ritz-Carleton the star.

However, the architectural role and prominence and integration of the Ritz-Carleton White Plains will assume in the City Center is now a new issue the Common Council will be grappling with, beginning this evening at 7 PM.

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