Sabbath Services for Persons With Developmental Disabilities

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

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.


HOTEL IS PROPOSED FOR THE AREA INBETWEEN THE TWO TOWERS on the Martine Avenue side.

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.

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

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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Little League Registration a Success WPLL President Announces.

The White Plains Little League confirms approximately 1,000 players signed up for in-person registration the last two Saturdays. WPLL President Rich Masseroni said the introduction of in-person registration was a tremendous success, attracting from 200 to 225 new players to the league. He announced procedures for late registration for players who failed to sign-up in person.


“OUR IN-PERSON REGISTRATION WAS A COMPLETE SUCCESS,” reports Rich Massaroni, left, shown Saturday answering Jaynean Austin’s questions on the last day for registration: “Thanks to everyone involved behind the scenes as well as those who actually helped out on the 2 registration days. Special thanks goes out to Billy Wooters who masterminded and coordinated this huge effort. By having the pre-printed forms available made the registration process a very simple and quick. Most people who registered were in and out of there within 10 minutes. We also received numerous volunteers, which was another resaon we needed to conduct this effort.

Photo by WPCNR


Here is the White Plains Little League Late Registration Process for those who still want to sign-up:

NEW PLAYERS:

• Includes players who have never played WPLL (any Division, Ages 5 thru 15).

•0 Must register their child at the White Plains Recreation Department.

• WPLL will provide registration package for registrants to complete.

• Late entrants will be placed on a “Waiting List” and will only be eligible to play as determined by the WPLL Board of Directors on those teams who need to complete their rosters.

RETURNING PLAYERS:

• Includes players who played WPLL in 2001.

• WPLL will be conducting a separate mailing to all returning players who did not register on January 12 or January 19 and will be distributed on January 30.

• WPLL will provide registration package for registrants to complete with self addressed envelope to send back to the WPLL PO Box.

• Late entrants will be placed on a “Waiting List” and will only be eligible to play as determined by the WPLL Board of Directors on those teams who need to complete their rosters.

LATE REGISTRATION PLAYER FEES:

• As advertised by the Little League, a late registration fee of $35.00 is being assessed.

• Single Player: $100.00

• Two Players: $165.00

• Three or more Players: $200.00

GENERAL INFORMATION & QUESTONS:

• All inquiries must be addressed via e-mail to the WPLL as follows:

whiteplainslittleleague@msn.com

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The Ritz Confirms! Ritz-Carlton Cappelli Rides on Dropping a Floor

6 O’clock Lightning Edition, Updated 1-24-02, 12:15 AM: The Mayor’s Office said Wednesday that the Cappelli Enterprises request scaling back of the retail element of the City Center with the prospect of adding a luxury hotel to the complex, would be considered in two parts. The first part would involve a site plan amendment removing the top floor from the City Center. The Council will take this up Thursday evening at 7 PM. Consideration of a Ritz-Carlton hotel by the Council would come later.

WPCNR learned Wednesday that the Ritz-Carlton has confirmed they are interested in working with Mr. Cappelli.
The Ritz-Carlton possibility became more than just charisma Wednesday. City Hall received confirmation the world class hotel management firm, with 49 hotels worldwide, was ready to link up with Louis Cappelli.



THE RITZ CARLTON RSVPS to Louis Cappelli their interest. WPCNR has obtained the letter confirming the premier luxury hotel organization’s interest in becoming an anchor property of the City Center.PHOTO BY WPCNR


At 5:15 PM Wednesday evening the city received this letter that the Ritz-Carlton faxed to the Cappelli organization from James M. Erlacher, Vice President, North American Development for the Ritz-Carlton organization, in Bethesada, Maryland.

The letter confirms “Marriott’s interest in working with Cappelli Enterprises on the development of a Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences as part of the White Plains City Center mixed-use development in downtown White Plains.”

Mr. Erlacher closes the letter with this statement,

“The Marriott development and Ritz-Carlton design teams have the resources available to support your development (the City Center) and design teams throughout the planning process. We look forward to working with you to bring a Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences to downtown White Plains.”

The Common Council Considers Thursday Night.

The pathway to a “Ritz-Carlton White Plains” now starts in a two-step process as explained by City Information and Economic Development Officer, Paul Wood.

Wood told WPCNR the only Cappelli matter before the council in the scheduled Thursday evening work session would be Louis Cappelli’s request for Council approval of an amended site plan, reducing the City Center from 4 floors to two. The effect, Wood said opens up more “views,” for the North City Center apartment building fronting on Main Street by lowering the city center one story, providing more views for approximately 6 floors.

Trimming the retail.

Wood said the city that the removal of one floor of retail space, the top floor, which consisted of a bowling alley and a planned Bally’s gymnasium was the matter the Common Council would deal with Thursday evening.

The effect of this, Wood said, according to Cappelli, relieves Mr. Cappelli of having to rent the space and “overbuilding retail,” and speculated the change in plan would make it more attractive to financiers. The change enhances the views and attractiveness of the North apartment complex tower.

Opens Doors for Luxury Hotel.

According to Cappelli spokesman, Geoffrey Thompson, the treatment of the floor reduction also is the first step in opening the door for the Ritz-Carlton to build a luxury hotel attached to the complex.

On tap Thursday: More Lease Information Promised. Some Sketches? Maybe.

Wood, the city media wrangler downplayed the substance of Cappelli’s scheduled appearance before the Common Council Thursday evening, advising that Cappelli had told the city he would be announcing lease agreements between tenants, and providing information on his closing on the financing. Wood said Cappelli would go over the reasons for the site plan amendment, and perhaps, his grandiose, eleventh hour plan to invite the Ritz-Carlton hotel into the complex.

Wood, at least, was not expecting anything highly detailed. He said Mr. Cappelli had lead the city to believe that he might show “some sketches,” of the change, and perhaps how the hotel might fit in, but Wood did not know what Cappelli would bring to the table Thursday evening in the Common Council Work Session. Wood said Mr. Cappelli had not shown plans of any kind, and just spoke of them in his earnest persuasive style.

Report from Atlanta: Ritz-Carlton doesn’t own its hotels.

The faxed confirmation of Ritz-Carlton’s interest to Cappelli Entertprises arrived within minutes of WPCNR’s telephone conversation with Stephanie Platt, Vice President of Communications for Ritz-Carlton, in Atlanta.

We spoke with Ms. Platt on the general rules of engagement when the Ritz-Carlton organization considers a site for a new property. Ms. Platt said that the organization does not own any of its hotels, that it is a hotel management organization only, leading to the conclusion that Mr. Cappelli would own the hotel, while Ritz-Carlton would manage it.

Key Fact: The Ritz does not build properties or pay for construction.

Ms. Platt advised WPCNR that the way the Ritz-Carlton adds properties when it wants to expand to a location is to work with a developer interested in a Ritz-Carlton on that developer’s site.

Ritz-Carlton, she said, does not pay for the construction, but instead enters into a management agreement with the developer to manage the developer’s Ritz-Carlton property once it is built. The developer/owner owns the hotel, she reports, the Ritz-Carlton runs it. This is the standard way Ritz-Carlton operates, Ms. Platt said.

The Ritz supervises the design.

Platt also revealed that the Ritz-Carlton does have total control of the design of the hotel. They provide their own design staff, she said, and they decide what the hotel looks like in terms of site placement, amenities, room make-up, every aspect of the hotel.

Ms Platt was checking back with the organization development office for details on the City Center project and the Ritz-Carlton present situation with Cappelli Enterprises.

Mr. Wood advised WPCNR that should the hotel project move further along, it would require new plans and design to be brought before the Council, and submitted to all departments.

Posted in Uncategorized

Puttin’ On the Ritz: Cappelli proposes Ritz-Carlton Hotel for City Center

11 O’Clock All News Final Edition 1/22/02,UPDATED 2:00 AM EST, 1-25-02:The Mayor’s Office announced Tuesday afternoon that Louis Cappelli, developer of the City Center project approved by the Common Council in September, wants to change the configuration of his twin tower project in the heart of White Plains.

The new City Center plans presented by Mr. Cappelli for the first time to the city Tuesday morning propose to bring a 175-suite, $500-a-night Ritz-Carlton Five Star Hotel to the heart of White Plains. Plans will be presented in detail at 7 PM Thursday during a Common Council work session.

Geoffrey Thompson, spokesman for the Cappelli organization, confirmed to WPCNR Tuesday evening that Cappelli had been “approached” by several major hotel chains about locating to the City Center project. He reports that Mr. Cappelli has struck a “tentative” deal with the 49-hotel Ritz-Carlton chain of luxury hotels, a subsidiary of Marriott Corporation.

New plan turns 150,000 square feet of retail into hotel space

Thompson said that the revised City Center plan will have the proposed Ritz-Carlton fronting on Martine Avenue adjacent to retail loading dock staging area, not abutting the Westchester Arts Council Building. In the previous plan, this South side of the City Center was to be the loading dock entrance for retail.



WILL IT BE THE RITZ-CARLTON WHITE PLAINS or The RITZ-CARLTON WESTCHESTER?


Essentially, Thompson analyzed, Cappelli is asking to transform 150,000 square feet of retail into 150,000 square feet of hotel. This lowers the height of the Main Street side of the City Center by 20 feet. Thompson observed this lowered height increases the attractiveness of the North side residential tower, enabling Cappelli to add 20 apartments, as revealed Thursday evening.

Thompson also confirmed George Gretsas’ report from city hall earlier that hotel suites would also take up the first seven stories of the south residential tower on Martine Avenue.

All the amenities.

Thompson advised that the hotel will be U-shaped with a court yard. It will include a ballroom on the street level of the City Center project. The hotel will occupy a U-shape on the Martine Avenue (south side of the complex). The 8-story loft building in the former City Center design, he said, will be eliminated, its space absorbed into part of the hotel.



RITZ-CARLTON, CLEVELAND, a 207-room Ritz-Carlton property in the shadow of Cleveland’s Tower demonstrating a U-shaped design. It was built in 1990. Ritz-Carlton has been opening down-sized, satellite hotels around major cities in Miami and Washington, D.C. Their Georgetown Ritz-Carlton, in the District of Columbia scheduled to open this year is a 93-unit “boutique hotel” in a mixed-use project similar to the Cappelli City Center. It will be in a mix of a 3,000 seat movie complex and retail space and also have 30 luxury condominiums attached. Photo from the Ritz-Carlton website.


Cappelli seeks site plan amendment. New approval process would kill the financing.

Thompson reports to WPCNR that Mr. Cappelli will ask the Common Council to accept this plan as a site plan amendment on Thursday evening, during the Common Council work session.

Reported by city Tuesday afernoon.

George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, announced the Council meeting today at 5 PM, reporting to WPCNR that the city was notified of the changes Mr. Cappelli would like to make on Tuesday morning. He reported the city departments spent most of the day going over the revised plans received that morning and the Common Council would get their first look at them Thursday night from the “Super Developer” himself.

Amended Site Plan or New Project?

“We’re essentially grappling with the issue of whether these changes constitute an ‘amended site plan,’ or require a full blown new process,” Gretsas commented, “It is up to the Common Council to make that decision.”

Just a Few Minor Changes.

Mr. Gretsas reported to CNR that the changes “might make it (the City Center) even better.”

First, Gretsas said, Mr. Cappelli desires to eliminate one floor of retail from the three floor city center. According to the Executive Officer, the Target Store would stay as part of the project, but where and what floor was not given. Gretsas advised that the plans would be presented in detail Thursday evening. He added that Mr. Cappelli announced he would share some information on his tenants.

Sears Great Indoor Store and Target Still in the Mix

Mr. Thompson declared later Tuesday evening that Target Stores is still “in” the project and so is the Sears Great Indoor Store, ending WPCNR speculation that Sears might have bowed out of the project when we heard that one floor of retail was being eliminated.

Site Plan Amendment Only Way.

WPCNR also speculated earlier that the changing configuration of the project is why Mr.Cappelli has held off sealing his financial arrangement with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Cappelli revealed Thursday evening at City Hall that he was only waiting until the time to file appeals against approval had run out (January 22). Thompson said that the hotel negotiations had nothing to do with the financing, however, he did say that if the Common Council felt an entire new approval review was required, that would doom the financing (and presumably, the project).

Thompson said Tuesday evening the financing would be announced in early February.

Hotel proposed to replace Loft and First Approximate 10 stories of residential Tower.

Gretsas disclosed earlier Tuesday that Mr. Cappelli wanted to change the nature of his two residential towers and 12-story loft building on Martine Avenue. According to Gretsas, the “Super Developer” had cut a deal with a major luxury hotel chain to transform the loft building and the first approximate 10 stories of the Martine residential Tower Two into a posh luxury hotel.

Puttin on the Ritz

If such a major hotel chain is investing its money into the City Center, it raises the question of whether such an image-concious chain would go along with the Beyer Blinder Belle-designed (and approved by the Common Council) Cappelli towers. This could mean major revision of design. We hope to learn more about the design Thursday evening.

One more change: condominiums instead of rentals?

Gretsas reports that Mr. Cappelli desires to change the mix of the two apartment towers into some condominium units, the percentage of condo to rent residential was not revealed. Thompson denied this was being considered when queried about it by WPCNR Tuesday evening.

Thompson concluded by saying the project was right on schedule and the project was expected to be completed by Spring, 2003.

For more information on The Ritz-Carlton chain, visit their website at www.ritz-carlton.com.

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Tell the City What You Want in Recreation Facilities.

This week, we establish a new WPCNR Poll that attempts to let the public, the WPCNR reader, tell the city what recreation facilities you feel the city should work to develop.

The poll is particularly timely because the Recreation Master Plan has been completed and suggests all 12 of the options listed in our Recreation Facilities Poll at the right.

You can vote once a day, simply by clicking on your choice.

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Scarsdale takes up Assisted Living Facility at Saxon Woods Road Monday

UPDATED 1-22-02, 2:20 PM: Special to WPCNR from Scarsdale Today:The Village of Scarsdale Planning Board is revisiting the proposal to build a senior assisted living facility adjacent to and West of the Westchester Ethical Culture Society property off Saxon Woods Road in Scarsdale, with entry from the City of White Plains. The White Plains Planning Board sharply criticised the Draft Environmental Impact Statement submitted by the developer last Spring.

Elizabeth Marrinan, Village Planner for Scarsdale, told WPCNR today that Monday’s meeting is not a public hearing. Consequently, the general public will not be allowed to make comments at the meeting scheduled for Monday evening at Scarsdale Town Hall, that the session was for the Scarsdale Planning Board only to question the presenters.
Marrinan, in an interview with CNR Tuesday said, that once the Final Environmental Impact Statement was approved, the Planning Board would hold a public hearing on the senior assisted living proposal to consider granting of the Special Permit and lot consolidation, permitting the development. She told us the developer was supposed to be in touch with the City of White Plains Planning Department “to iron out their differences.”

WPCNR has learned that within minutes of our telephone call to Ms. Marrinan, that she contacted Rod Johnson, Planning Department Environmental Officer for White Plains. Susan Habel, Planning Commissioner, was not available to comment on whether or not the developer had been in touch with the Planning Department since the meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement last spring.

Ms Marrinan said that the draft FEIS was not yet a public document because the Scarsdale Planning Board had not accepted it yet.

The matter of its acceptance is being taken up in a meeting the Scarsdale Planning Board is calling, their words, “a public workshop,” which will be held in the Trustees Room in Village Hall on Monday, January 28, 2002,
at 8:00 p.m. at which time the Planning Board will discuss the draft Final Environmental Impact Statement submitted in connection with the proposed Scarsdale Saxon Wood Road Assisted Living Facility at 25 Saxon Wood Road, identified on the tax map as Sec. 20, Blk. 1, Lots 3 and 3B.

Last spring, a cadre of City of White Plains officials took turns citing contradictions, issues, inconsistencies, and illegalities in the DEIS, and the matter has lain dormant until now. The proposal plans an L-shaped, three-story facility, with entry off White Plains roads, and use of White Plains water and electricity.

The city had indicated it would not supply water to the facility last spring, it was that opposed to the project.

The developer needs to acquire 14 permits from the City of White Plains to build the access roads for the 131-unit facility. Based on the DEIS, the city was not prepared to issue them.

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Little League Registration In Action. The Players Just Kept on Coming.

The 2002 White Plains Little League In-Person Registration sign-ups concluded Saturday with another encouraging day of signups at Ridgeway School. The league is analyzing the signups and what the outstanding turnout means for the league. Estimates indicate registrations will approximate the over 1,000 who played last year, well ahead of last year’s pace.
They showed up early again Saturday and kept coming in a steady stream all day long at the first in-person Little League Registration weekend Saturday. Preliminary reports indicate that the league has attracted over 200 new players who have never played Little League before, and estimates indicate sign-ups will be close to 1,000 players.

Parents WPCNR interviewed were enthusiastic, felt the registration process was easy to go through because it was well-organized. They liked the availability of league officials to answer questions about player divisions and age eligibility.

Here’s how it worked:



PARENTS WERE GREETED BY THESE SIGNS DIRECTING them to desks where they could pick up pre-printed registrations at the final and concluding Registration day for the spring league at Ridgeway School.
Photo by WPCNR




LEAGUE OFFICIALS WERE ON HAND TO ANSWER questions newly registering parents had about playing levels, scedules, tryouts, and more. Here White Plains Little League President Rich Massaroni answers Jaynean Austin’s questions Saturday. Massaroni came up with the in-person registration procedure as a way of stabilizing league organization and balancing league play.
PHOTO BY WPCNR




AFTER CHECKING OUT THEIR PRE-PRINTED INFORMATION, parents took their registrations to the payment desk where they were given passwords to the White Plains Little League website, and free magnets for signing up.
PHOTO BY WPCNR




OLD FRIENDS AND COMPETITORS greeted each other all day long the last two Saturdays at the gala, optimistic atmosphere of the White Plains Little League In-Person Registration. Here, L to R, Vice President for Umpiring, Softball, Lou Petralia, manager, Phil McGovern, and manager Brian Peroni work the New Players Desk.
PHOTO BY WPCNR




MAJOR DOMO OF REGISTRATION, Billy Wooters, (L) designer and programmer of the unique registration database for the White Plains Little League last year, making possible in-person registration, discusses the steady flow of registrants with Vice President of the Major Boys Division, Al Orfe, right.
PHOTO BY WPCNR




THE INFORMATION DESK answered parents’ questions about schedules, team selection, tryouts, and other concerns. Here Lisa Fee, Left, and Tom Pasqua, center, give Frank Pandolfo the inside story.
PHOTO BY WPCNR

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