Another Day, Another Groundbreaking for Mayor: Stop N Shop coming Sept/2002

“If we work together, anything is possible” Mayor Joseph Delfino said as he presided over opening demolition ceremonies for the New Super Stop N Shop Wednesday at the Westchester Avenue “gateway to the city.”





“MR. REVITALIZATION” RIDES AGAIN: Mayor Joseph Delfino presides over his fourth groundbreaking in a year, the beginning of Stop N Shop construction on Westchester Avenue saying “If we work together, anything is possible.”PHOTO BY WPCNR NEWS

The future of the White Plains Eastern Gateway took an historic step towards gentrification Wednesday. The Stop N Shop Supermarket Company held a Demolition & Groundbreaking Ceremony signaling start of construction of their new supermarket on the site of the old Bank of New York building and Post Road Bowl alley on Westchester Avenue.

The ceremony marked the end of a two decade quest for a supermarket for White Plains that ended with the Stop N Shop and Bianco & Pep’e deal, brokered and encouraged by Mayor Delfino’s diplomacy which made the Wednesday ceremony possible.

Opening in September 2002

When an orange Hitachi 400 Excavator with Hydraulic Pulverizer, lurking over the old Bank of New York branch office like a monster from Jurassic Park, snapped down on the top of a bank wall and started chewing it up at about 11:10 AM, the new 60,000 square foot supermarket was launched. According to David Greene, spokesman for Stop N Shop, the new superstore is scheduled to open in 9 to 12 months, between late spring to September 2002.

Andrew Hennessy, Principal of Berg Hennessy Olson, Washingtonville, N.Y., project architects, told WPCNR the new facility would go up quickly because “construction of supermarkets today can be done in half the time of construction that was executed twenty years ago because of better materials, equipment, technology and building methods.” Hennessy said he expected the new store to open at the latest in September 2002, depending on the weather, or as early as next summer.

Supermarket will not be held up by garage construction

It is not necessary, Hennessy said, for Bianco & Pep’e to complete the garage for the supermarket and Westchester One before the Stop N Shop can open. That is because, Hennessy reports, the new supermarket will use the parking on the ground level of the parking garage. Hennessy said the new garage Bianco & Pep’e is building is prefabricated and should go up in an efficient manner.





“WHITE PLAINS EMERGES FROM SHADOWS: Mayor Delfino and Stop N Shop’s Tim Mahoney unveil the sign announcing new supermarket construction. Mahoney promised Stop N Shop would be a contributing and volunteering member of the community.PHOTO BY WPCNR NEWS

As the Bank of New York was feeling the bite of the Hitachi, Bianco & Pep’e was pouring footings and foundations for the new Department of Public Works garage on 3 Brockway Place. When that structure is completed, the DPW will move its operations from 111 South Kensico to that location.

The White Plains Youth Bureau currently housed in 111 South Kensico expects to move its headquarters to Eastview School in mid-October or mid-November, according to Frank Williams, Youth Bureau Director. Williams said the refurbishing of Eastview for the new bureau was “proceeding very well.”

Frank Miceli, owner of FMC Demolition of New Rochelle said the demolition of the bank building would take approximately one day. The plan is to move from Westchester Avenue inward towards the Post Bowl building. Crews will take down the Post Bowl bowling alley building next in sequence.

Mr. Revitalization hosts fourth groundbreaking in a year.

According to the WPCNR scorecard, this was the fourth groundbreaking of the year for the relentless Delfino Administration: On his watch, the Mayor has begun a new apartment complex off Main Street opposite Eastview section, (Canfield Park), the Cappelli City Center Project, and now Wednesday the culmination of the intricate Stop N Shop/Bianco & Pep’e project. Work is continuing apace at the site of the Bank Street Commons project at the former “Hole in the Ground” for a twin tower residential and hotel complex.

David Greene, host of the ceremonies for the some 75 guests underneath a white tent in the former bank parking lot, began by saluting Joseph Nicoletti, Commissioner of the Department of Pubic Works, for his “spearheading” of the project and “a good level of leadership,” in the creation of the two garages and supermarket plan.

Pep’e family patriarch honored for compromise

Greene singled out the founding patriarch of the Pep’e family, Sal Pep’e, builder of Westchester One, who was in the audience. He commended the legendary builder of Westchester One, now in his 90s, for having “rose to the occasion” and worked out a compromise with Stop N Shop at the urging of Mayor Delfino to make the project possible.

Bianco & Pep’e had originally proposed a Shoprite supermarket project in conjunction with a new DPW garage which was supported by the Mayor, but the Common Council opted for the Stop N Shop design instead last spring. At the urging of members of the Common Council, the Mayor used his long association with the Pep’es to bring them together with Stop N Shop and hammer out the present compromise plan. Greene said the project “represented economic development, new jobs, new (sales) taxes for the City of White Plains.”

Greene introduced Timothy M. Mahoney, Senior Real Estate Manager, of The Stop N Shop Supermarket Company, who said the purpose of the ceremony was “to clear away the old and make way for the new and make way for the reinvestment in this community. Now it’s time for the building to come to life.” Referring to baseball’s Rogers Hornsby who said “the secret to baseball is getting a good ball to hit,” Mahoney said, “We have a great ball to hit.”

The Mayor completes a personal goal urged by the Common Counci:get us a supermarket.

Mahoney introduced Mayor Delfino to do the honors: The Mayor said he remembered that the last time the city built a supermarket was in 1965 when the old Finast was built. He said it was hard for people outside of White Plains to understand that the city does not have a major supermarket within its city limits, pointing out that most residents have to shop outside the city.

“Now we’ve taken the right steps. We’ve cut a lot of ribbons and with each ribbon we cut, Cappelli City Center, the Hole in the Ground, the Barker Avenue site, and now this , development by development we are moving the city to the future.”

The Mayor thanked Sal Pep’e, whom he said he had known for almost 40 years: “Just like Sal, with me handshakes mean everything. We did get together with Stop N Shop and a wonderful merger to make this day happen…Anything can be done if you work together. If you don’t work together, nothing will ever be done. And, now today, it is going to get done.”

The usual events take on a sense of history in the making

Mr. Delfino and Mr. Mahoney proceeded to the unveiling of the sign announcing the new supermarket, posing for a very brief photo-op.

The big Hitachi Excavator took its star turn with Anthony Mariano at the controls. The big machine ate the Bank of New York Building for lunch.





“GODZILLA DEVOURS BANK: The Jaws of Progress of the Hitachi Excavator with Anthony Mariano of FMC Demolition at the controls feed on the Bank of New York on Westchester Avenue starting demolition, paving way for the new super 60,000 square foot Stop N Shop, due to open in by September 2002 “PHOTO BY WPCNR NEWS

Looking like a mechanical tyrannosaurus rex, with menacing jaws, swing bolts looking like eyes, on the end of powerful orange neck, the crane’s “Jaws of Progress” exerted pressures of 160,000 pounds per square inch. The machine fed, bit, chomped and tore at the old building relentlessly, poking and ripping out beams, snapping and gnawing on the old branch roof, exposing a gaping hole with violent authority, tossing 50 foot beams in the air like matchsticks.

A “White Plains Moment” occurred when a blue bowling ball fell from the roof of the bank, plunging to the parking lot. Laughter sprang from the awestruck crowd, and media speculation emerged as to whether the ball was a souvenir of some long ago bowler’s frustration.

With each bite of the dinosaur, White Plains had taken another step to becoming the White Plains of the twenty-first century out of the past.

Projects Board Moves Purchase of D’elia property for $1.775MM

The Capitol Projects Board recommended the Common Council approve purchase of the D’Elia property, along the Greenway, as part of Mayor Delfino’s Environmental Protection Initiative.

In swift, decisive action, with a minimum of discussion, the D’Elia property was cleared to become the city’s first Open Space Acquisition as part of Mayor Joseph Delfino’s Open Space Acqusition plan Wednesday afternoon.





AT LONG LAST, the D’Elia property is on the brink of being purchased by the city for $1,775,000. The curved light gray portion of the map above is The Greenway. The D’Elia property is in dark gray just below it. The property is located on the East side of the Greenway, abutting the Scarsdale border is approximately 6 acres, thickly forested including the “paper street” that runs through the center. The D’Elia property also features the trickling West Branch of the Mamaroneck River, rocks and steep slopes.

The recommendation to allocate $25,000 from the City Recreation Trust Fund and bond for $1,750,000 to purchase the 5-acre D’Elia property from The New York Trust for Public Land, has to be approved by the Common Council. It is expected by WPCNR that the Council will take up the resolution at their next Common Council meeting September 4.

The $1,775,000 the city will pay, if the Council approves, is less than a New York Trust for Public Land-selected private appraiser has valued the property for sale on the real estate market today. This was the criteria by which the Trust judged whether to acquire the property.

The property was evaluated by the appraiser, Bob Balog, of Balog-Ferrier Real Estate Appraisals in Tarrytown, according to Susan Habel, Deputy Commissioner of Planning. The New York Trust for Public Land negotiated the deal on the city’s behalf and will actually purchase the property from a Greenwich developer who will pay Mr. D’Elia for the property. The city will purchase the piece from the Trust.

Greer raises question of outside aid

Robert Greer lightly raised the question of whether the city would seek aid from Westchester County or the state to fund the purchase. Mayor Delfino said that time was of the essence in purchasing the property. Deputy Commissioner Habel pointed out that the Trust for Public Land had only three months from September 4 to December to close on the contract.

Based on his experience with the County Board of Legislators, Delfino said it would take too long for the County government to work a funding proposal through the system in time to meet the Trust for Public Land 90 day window of opportunity to buy the D’Elia property. He also pointed out if the county helped in acquiring it, the parkland would have to be made available to all county residents.

Delfino said, “If we did not have the money to fund this, we would fund it anyway. We would find the money. That’s how important I feel open space is (to this community).”

Meeting with Spano coming up

Delfino said the city would explore other sources of funding to reduce the need to bond for the money, but it was important to accept the deal at this time because of the owner’s deadline. The Mayor said he would be meeting with County Executive Andy Spano to discuss other issues important to White Plains in the next 10 days, and that funding for this would be part of the discussion.

CCOS delighted. Open Space Acquisition Committee’s first success.

Barbara Benjamin of Concerned Citizens for Open Space was an observer. She commented, “CCOS is absolutely delighted. We feel that this land should be preserved in perpetuity. It’s very environmentally sensitive. We hope to work out ways it can be used as an environmental laboratory.” She added that some of the plans for the site are to use it to teach ecology to students in the White Plains schools.”

The D’Elia property acquisition is the first apparent success, (depending on the Common Council voting for its acquisition), in the Mayor’s Environmental Protection Initiative, and it took just 4 months. The Mayor created the Initiative to pursue open space preservation aggressively. If the Council approves the expenditure of $1,775,000, it will be the first Open Space acquisition by the city in 20 years, according to the Mayor’s office, and the first property purchase by the city in 10 years.

One property almost in the portfolio, 4 to go on “Most Wanted List.”

The D’Elia property is the first property appearing on the Open Space Acquisition Committee “ Top 5 Most Wanted Properties List” to come within reach of the city. Susan Habel commented for WPCNR on the other four properties on the “Want List:”

The Dellwood and Pettinnichi properties in Woodcrest Heights were properties that the city is interested in acquiring, but the County owned the Dellwood piece and has an option to buy the Pettinnichi property for low cost affordable housing. This is currently due to go to the Westchester County Planning Board, but has not as of yet and has been hanging fire since last Spring.

The other property, the Grieco property, also in Woodcrest Heights, is currently under option to Richard Cohen, a developer, who is going through a lengthy environmental review with the Planning Department in attempting to build his Jillian Estates project, consisting of 16 homes on the property. Habel said the owner cannot negotiate to sell their land until Cohen’s option expires.

Another property on the “Most Wanted List” is adjacent to the soon-to-be acquired D’Elia piece. The Mindich property near the Greenway, is in “ongoing” discussions with The Trust for Public Land, according to Habel, but the owner is interested in building a home there at the present time.

A great time to borrow

Habel added that borrowing at this time is very advantageous for the city since municipal bond rates are even lower than commercial bond rates. Louis Cappelli, speaking Monday night to the Common Council also commented that this is a great time to borrow money.

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City Center Countdown: 2 New Tower Designs.

Louis Cappelli, sun bronzed from a Monday afternoon golf round playing “customer golf” with his City Center financiers, presented enhancements to his proposed City Center residential apartment towers Monday night. Afterwards four of seven Councilpersons seemed inclined to back the 34-story project with enthusiasm.

The Monday evening work session brought the White Plains Common Council closer to its “date with destiny” next Tuesday, September 4. On that fateful day, the Common Council is scheduled to vote on a Special Permit allowing Louis Cappelli to erect two 34-story residential apartment towers on his 7 acre site changing White Plains forever.

Two new tower designs reflect Councilmember comments.

“Mr. Development” presented enhancements of his City Center “Twin Towers” based on council comments on the eight tower designs presented just last Wednesday evening.





HOW TO SELL A CONCEPT:”Mr. Development,” Louis Cappelli, of Cappelli Enterprises, showcases the features the Common Council liked most wrapped up into one building Monday night. The 34-story job is redbrick, with stately stepbacks with a gold pyramid on the top. Mr. C. is selling the advantages of taller, slimmer elegance to a riveted Common Council. Photo by WPCNR

Cappelli put the height question into perspective. He said the first 100 feet of each tower up against the City Center building and the new Martine Avenue garage were useless, and “had to be offset by more expensive real estate (at the top of the building).” He said the key floors of each building were the top six stories (above the 28-floor level) which would rent for $3 a square foot as opposed to $2/a square foot for the bottom 28 stories.

What Council wanted.

Prior to unveiling his two new designs, Cappelli recapped his interpretation of what the Council had said they liked about his designs last Wednesday. He said the Council wanted a more “verticular look” and that the tower facades should be defined more dramatically, and that “the top should form some sort of slant,” referring to the enthusiasm for the pyramid caps he had shown.

He advised that each of the tall towers would contain 280 apartments, and his third Conroy & Martine building (replacing the psychiatric center) would contain 40 loft apartments, making up the 600 apartments. He estimated the 600 units would bring 1.4 persons per unit, approximately 900 to 1,000 permanent residents to the downtown.

Now 380 foot towers, not 340. Cappelli prefers two different towers.
The Council learned that the actual height of the buildings would 380 feet, not 340 feet, since the cupolas of the towers would contain 40 feet of air-conditioning, elevator works and boilers to heat the building. Mr. C said he preferred to build two different towers rather than duplicate towers as Beyer Blinder Belle had suggested. The towers would not be the tallest buildings in Westchester, but the second tallest next to The Avalon in New Rochelle.

Up come the Boards!

Cappelli unveiled two views of the first design featuring a square-topped tower with a gold pyramid treatment and a standard square roofed cupola, with two different brick and glass treatments.

With the second design, he hit a homerun, or at least “a gapper.” It was a spectacular, rich, rose brick fa├žade, clear glass ornate and solid with articulated protrusions and solid, sturdy horizontal definitions at each setback with the column soaring to a Metropolitan Life Building-type golden pyramid peak.

The night views of each proposed tower inspired glowing countenances from the councilpersons. Cappelli, speaking softly in a rapturous, seductive tone, said each building with have setbacks at intervals as the columns soared to the heavens, upon which there would be floodlights turning the buildings into spectacular evening art, beckoning drivers for miles traveling on I-287.

“I can’t build a nicer building than this. It has to be brick, has to be glass. This is a monumental building, with lights on the cutbacks, the atrium lit and clear, especially at night.”

Council appears positive to the concept

Cappelli had them on the run. The exception was Pauline Oliva who repeated her complaint about the calls she had been receiving from residents about the proposed height, and still seemed to be a definite “No.”

Larry Delgado appeared to back off from tacit rejection of 34 stories to quibbles about colored glass, and appeared to be wavering in his opposition to the magic 34. Robert Greer, William King, Benjamin Boykin each expressed enthusiasm for both designs and no reservations about the height, though Greer wanted Fred Bland of Beyer, Blinder Belle to give his opinion of the designs.

Rita Malmud remained the coy muse of the Common Council. She refused comment on the new prototypes, or to weigh in on the “look,” or to comment on the height question, despite Mayor Delfino’s asking her twice for her impressions. The coy Mayor reserved comment until the vote.

The reaction was highly positive.

Councilman William King: “That’s a fantastic top.(Referring to design 2).”
Councilman Robert Greer: “I agree. But, I’d like Fred Bland’s opinion on it. I like the one on the right (gold pyramid topping).”
Councilwoman Pauline Oliva: “I like the accentuated lines, it seems to hug it to the ground.” She pointed out that Cappelli had originally come in with a design for 18 stories, and had many phone calls from persons opposed to the height.

Cappelli said “this (meaning the 34-story buildings) was a trade-off. It’s enabled an acre and a half of public open space. We’re a big city. We’re not a sleepy town of 54,000 people.” He compared the success of the Avalon building in New Rochelle (300 rented in six months) as more reason to go with the height.

Ms. Oliva responded that White Plains acreage is smaller (than New Rochelle). Cappelli said, “That’s why I’ve got to see The Lord (go up).”

Mr. Greer recalled Cappelli’s first proposal: “I remember some pretty squat buildings.” Mayor Delfino agreed, remembering Cappelli had three boxes.

Greer came down emphatically supportive of the higher buildings as opposed to the three boxes: “I think this is a big improvement.”

Councilman Delgado, appearing thoughtful, said: “I’m still interested in what Fred Bland has to say.” Delgado asked about a design using one pane of glass for two floors, and Cappelli said that was coming.

Delgado concentrated his statements on the design, and we could not know whether this meant he now could live with voting for the 34-story height. He said he did not like colored glass because that was characteristic of office buildings. Delgado said “The tops they all look beautiful. You just can’t ignore that it is a tall building.”

Councilman Boykin joined Councilman King’s outright enthusiasm emphatically: “They (both new building designs) look very good. But, once it’s built we can’t change it. By going up, you’re optimizing the infrastructure and providing open space.”

Mayor Delfino, queried by Ms. Malmud, said he liked the first building, and that he “could look at 34 stories.”

Cappelli was seeking a consensus. He said he sensed a “lighter council.” Pauline Oliva again demurred: “If it weren’t for all the calls I get and some critics….”

Cappelli said, in a diplomatic way, “They have no idea or any connection with the downtown…they are not connected.”

Oliva said, “They are. They pay taxes and they vote.”

Cappelli, said, “I’m in it (the downtown). And I vote and pay taxes,” then lightening up, he added, “I don’t want this to be a 4-3 vote, I won’t be satisfied until I get a 7-0 vote.”

The City Center could break ground in January, 2002
,
He closed his remarks by advising the council there was a 120-day appeal period after approval, and that he wanted to close on his financing by September 20. He anticipated beginning construction, January 5, 2002.

Garage construction procedure being examined.

Cappelli said he was still planning phasing the Martine Avenue garage construction. He was not sure whether to finish it early and lose revenue on it, or finish it at the same time the entire project was completed, which would extend the construction.

In comments on the mezzanine of City Hall, during Executive Session, Cappelli said, if he built the garage right away, he could finish the entire project in 12 months, opening at the end of 2002. If he phased it, he would finish the project in 20 months, with the project opening in mid 2003.

He advised that Sears had agreed to lease him 100 parking spaces, to supplement the 125 the city was making available for permit parkers now housed in the present Main-Martine garage. He was hopeful of even more spaces from Sears. He said he would decide on which timetable he would pursue in about 30 days.

The countdown to the City Center Time Table

The Council will also vote next Tuesday evening on a Zoning Ordinance in the downtown Zoning District allowing 280 foot, or 28 story residential towers on properties of 180,000 square feet (with 15 foot setbacks) in the Main Street-Mamaroneck Avenue-to Post Road corridor. This may set a new course for the White Plains of the future, dedicated to bringing high rise residential back to the downtown.

Should the Council approve the City Center Special Permit next Tuesday, there is one more hurdle for the dashing developer.

The Mayor’s Office reported Friday that should they approve the 34-story Special Permit, the Council will hold a special vote about mid-September to approve the $23 Million in bonding towards the new Conroy & Martine parking garage. This double approval is being created for Mr. Cappelli to close on his financing about September 20.

According to George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, in an interview with WPCNR last Friday, the council only needs a simple majority vote to approve the Special Permit. However, the vote for the bonding of the $23 million tentatively targeted for Mid-September, requires a 5-2 majority.

Should the Special Permit not be approved for Cappelli, there is no indication at this time what the developer would do next.

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Open Space Committee greenlights city buy of D’Elia property.

The Mayor’s Open Space Acquisition Committee voted unanimously to recommend the first White Plains acquisition of park land in 20 years.

The Mayor’s Office reported Friday that the proposal was met with great enthusiasm by the Acquisition Committee, when Susan Habel presented the news Thursday night. The recommended purchase now moves to the Capitol Projects Board on Tuesday morning, when the price for the land will be revealed, according to George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer.

The deal was announced at the Wednesday, August 22 Work Session of the Common Council by Kate Brown, of the New York Trust for Public Land. Ms. Brown negotiated the deal by which the Trust will buy the land from the contractor now owning an option on the D’Elia property. The Trust, in turn will sell it to the city for a price that Ms. Brown reports is below market value.

Real estate sources advise WPCNR they expect the property to move for approximately $1.1MM leaving about $4MM left in the city’s open space acquisition budget.

If the purchase is approved by the Capitol Projects Board, it could come to the Common Council for a vote. The council in its work session last week gave its blessing by a 5-1 vote, (with Rita Malmud unenthusiastic), to pursue the contract, however a final official vote has to be taken for the purchase to go through.

The development of the D’Elia property has been fought by the Hillair Circle neighborhood and the Concerned Citizens for Open Space organization for years, and now it appears the city is on the brink of preserving this densely forested tract for future generations.

White Plains Police stay the course, endorse Bill Ryan for County Legislator

“He’s been very supportive of police issues,” says Jim Carrier, head of the White Plains Police Benevolent Association.
The WPPBA endorsed an old friend Sunday night. This is how Officer Carrier described William J. Ryan, incumbent County Legislator, in reporting to WPCNR Sunday that the White Plains Police Benevolent Association has endorsed Ryan for Legislator in District 5 against his challenger Candyce Canelstein Corcoran:

“We’ve only endorsed one candidate so far and that is Bill Ryan,” Carrier told WPCNR. “Legislator Ryan is the head of the County Board of Legislators Public Safety Committee. He’s been very supportive of police issues in the past, and we believe he will continue to do so.”

The WPPBA by virtue of Sunday evening’s announcement breaks with the Scarsdale PBA in endorsing Ryan for the new County Legislative District 5. The Scardale PBA had endorsed Ryan’s opponent, Corcoran. The WPPBA, the Professional Fire Fighters Association of White Plains and the Civil Service Employees Association all had endorsed Legislator Ryan in his bid to run for Mayor of White Plains last April.

Ryan had actually captured the Nominating Committee nomination to be Democratic Party Mayoral standard bearer in November. However he was challenged for the nomination by White Plains Common Councilman Robert Greer and lost the nomination by a poll of the city wide Democratic District Leaders in a very close vote. Ryan’s loss touched off some bitter comments from labor observers in the hall at Democratic headquarters the night Greer wrested the nomination from Ryan. The Firefighter’s union in particular was upset with the Democratic party that evening, one official saying angrily: “We’ve been ignored by the Democrats for the last time, and that we’re going to show the Democrats they can’t take labor for granted.”

Carrier’s announcement to WPCNR Sunday evening only deals with the County Legislator contest.

Mr. Carrier said the WPPBA would be announcing its choices for citywide races for Mayor and Common Council in mid-September.

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Cappelli to council: No 34 stories is a Deal Killer

Louis Cappelli,made it bluntly clear to the Common Council that he would not compromise with the city on the 34 story heights of his proposed City Center towers Wednesday night.
The super developer expressed anxiety that worsening economic conditions could upset the whole City Center financial structure if he changed his project even one story, effectively killing the project perception with the banks, Avalon, his residential partner, and his prospective tenants.

The Common Council hunkered down in their seats at Wednesday evening’s work session and their eyes became smaller with each sentence uttered by Louis Cappelli who gave them an update and virtually an ultimatum on the City Center project. Councilman Benjamin Boykin, was not in attendance and did not hear the sober, friendly, frank warning delivered by the indefatigable developer.

Cappelli said that all demolition would be completed within the next three weeks, and that he wanted the Council to approve the project at their September 4 Common Council meeting because he feared any further delay could jeopardize the financing of the project.

He presented the council with his “term sheet,” an economic breakdown, floor-by-floor, of the buildings demonstrating how most of the profit of the residential towers was contained in the upper 10 stories of their projected 34 story heights. Lessening the height by one floor, he said would cause him to have to go back to the banks and reconfigure all his leases, financing, and residential partnerships.

“I sense from certain councilmen that theCity Center project was enough. I get a sense from other councilmen that 34 stores might be too high, that it’s something to come off of. It’s really not a negotiation. The bottom seven floors are worthless,” Cappelli said. “Lowering the buildings affects the performance. The top four floors are very valuable. I have to go back to Avalon, the banks. Everywhere today, you see stuff(bad economic news) happening. Time is the enemy.”

Cappelli said bluntly, “I can’t stress enough for you to move on this, say yes so I can close with my banks. I don’t want anybody to think knocking floors off is not a big deal because it is a big deal.”

Cappelli added that he is scheduled to sign a lease with National Amusements, the theater tenant, on September 4 which he will have for the Council in time for their September 4 Common Council meeting that evening, when he urged them to approve the project.

At this point, Cappelli turned to aesthetics and presented eight different brick colors and design treatments for the twin 34-story towers he was demanding. They ranged from redbrick to blue-gray, from vertical to horizontal window treatments, from a block structure pinnacle to varying pyramid pinnacles. He said he was willing to come back with 8 to 10 more treatments of the buildings to hone in on what design the Council was comfortable with.

Rita Malmud reacted to the designs with some warmth, and did not make any comments on the height issue: “I’m having trouble working with the verticalness. The vertical lines need more sense of distinction. I’ll know when I see it. That’s it.”

Pauline Oliva, however, continued her opposition to the 34-story height, though she liked building number eight. Oliva said she liked Building eight because it had a “heavier, lower look.”

Larry Delgado said “It (the design) is not quite there yet.”

William King said he liked Building number six, “I like where you’re going. I’ll support the height. I think it’sjust a matter of tweaking it. It’s a great look.”

Robert Greer said “I don’t pretend to be an architectural maven, but I’m with you on the height. No problems.”

Cappelli ebullient about the reception the design looks were getting said, “This 34-story building has to be perfect. A symbol of the city.”

Cappelli added that the buildings would be enhanced by skyward-directed flood lights, imparting a nighttime glamour.

Larry Delgado concluded comments with stating that “I’m concerned about the problem of height downtown. As Fred Bland (of Beyer, Blinder, Belle, architects) indicated we’re a city of shoulders, I would not want to see a city of only ‘heads’…I’d not like to see the biggest thing to be the biggest height.”

Cappelli took sharp, rational exception to this comment: “I’m out on the street. I don’t get the sense of what you’re getting a sense of that these stories matter. I can’t agree with a comment that this height is an issue.You show me one letter against the height, I can get you 50 letters supporting the height.”

Delgado said he was supportive of the 28-story zoning change considered by the Council.

Cappelli stood firm: “This is a deal killer. I can’t fit those 8 apartments by six floors into 28 stories. This (28 stories) is a deal killer because it changes the performance of the project.

He added: “Don’t judge us by other projects(in the future). Where were they for the last 10 years? To have you say that what they suggest should affect me that’s not right.We’re here for the first time making history. They’re not here.”

Pauline Oliva took up the anti-height crusade: “I was willing to vote for the proposal for up to 28 stories. It’s not that I am against the height, it’s how high. You just talk to business tenants. But people that talk to me, whom I meet in the supermarket, people say don’t let them build that height.”

Cappelli and Oliva wrangled over what residential homeowners thought and what the downtown needed. Oliva expressed concerns about traffic that was already clogging her Battle Hill neighborhood and what it would be like when the apartments were built at the City Center.
William King suggested part of the increased traffic was due to I-287 cut-throughs.

The Cappelli presentation closed with Mr. Cappelli vowing to return with more enhanced designs for his twin towers within a few days.

City has a deal on capturing D’Elia property for open space

The New York Trust for Public Land, has successfully negotiated a tentative deal to acquire the D’Elia subdivison off Hillair Circle with the purpose of perserving 5 acres of land for city open space as part of the Greenway Trail.
The Common Council agreed 5-1(with Rita Malmud dissenting, Benjamin Boykin not attending) to pursue the deal in its Wednesday evening meeting, after a closed door executive session. The Council did not vote to approve the expenditure which was not revealed.

The deal came as a complete surprise to the Council with the appearance of Kate Brown, Project Manager for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the New York Trust for Public Land announcing the opportunity.

Ms. Brown said she had been working on the request of the Mayor’s Open Space Acquisition Committee to pursue the D’Elia subdivision property as a number one priority of the committee, and had successfully reached an agreement on a purchase price with the owner, Albert Orlando, a developer from Greenwich, Connecticut.

“The Mayor asked us to help out with your Open Space AcquisitionProgram. It’s a typical role for us (The New York Trust for Public Land). We serve a nice role of keeping some distance between the public agency and the landowner,” she said. “Albert Orlando, buyer of the D’Elia property has agreed to turn over to the public 5 acres on Hillair Circle.”

Rita Malmud, at this point, said “I have no idea what we’re talking about.”

Ms. Brown explained that Orlando, the owner, was willing to turn over the property, (long sought by Concerned Citizens for Open Space for preservation), “at or below fair market value, so we, (The Trust for Public Land) could resell it to the city. We are in a contract situation.”

George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, explained to Councilwoman Malmud, “We need for the council to show a manifestation of support, an affirmative agreement, or we can just pull the plug (on the deal).”

Pauline Oliva asked what were the intended uses. Brown explained the Trust was acquiring it for the city for open space or park purposes, or as an extension of the Greenway. Susan Habel confirmed this was the intended use.

Councilman Delgado said the D’Elia property was an opportunity he had discussed with members of the Open Space Acquisition Committee, but Councilwoman Oliva pointed out, “You made a recommendation and we (the rest of the council didn’t), and the Open Space Acquisition Commitee has no legal standing.”

Susan Habel gently reminded Mrs. Oliva that “the committee had been operating under the Open Space Policy under the Mayor’s Open Space Initiative (announced last spring). All properties (on the acquisition list) were actually before the Planning Board for some kind of proposal, and it was not appropriate for the city to acquire them.”

Brown said the deal started to fall into place three weeks ago, at which time she obtained independent appraisals: “Mr. Orlando is willing to hold the property off the market for a limited amount of time for us to go to contract.”

At this point, the council went into Executive Session to discuss the purchase price. After the session was over, and the council discussed what they had heard briefly before agreeing in consensus to pursue the deal.

After Executive Session, Ms. Malmud said “We’re not voting are we? I’m still not sure if the numbers are relevant.”

The other 5 members agreed to continue to go to contract on the deal, pending an official vote.

Interviewed by WPCNR in the City Hall mezzanie, Ms. Brown said the puchase price negotiated with Mr. Orlando would still leave the city with enough funds in its $5 million allotment to continue to pursue more acquisitions on the Open Space Acquisition Committee list.

Jim Benerofe, of SuburbanStreet.com, familiar with real estate values estimated that the D’Elia property was worth approximately $2 million.

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Hudson River Bandits Looking for a Few Good Girls

The Hudson River Bandits Fastpitch Softball Organization have announced their team tryout dates for the 2002 season. Two-Session Tryouts will be held at Sprout Brook Field in Peekskill as follows, affording players all important second looks. It is mandatory that players attend both sessions.
Saturday, September 8: 9 AM — for 10Under and 12 U Teams. 11 AM — for 16Under, 18Under Teams

Sunday, September 9: 3 PM — For 14Under, 16Under, 18Under Teams, 5 PM — for 10Under, and 12Under Teams

Age is determined by the age of the player as of January 1, 2002.

The Bandits, founded just five years ago, are fresh off their most successful season ever, with their 16Under, 14Under, and 12Under softball teams going 13-6 in the National Softball Association World Series this July.





The Hudson River Bandits teams and parents on the scene at Freedom Park, Charlotte, North Carolina on their March through the NSA Nationals.

In one week of intense competition among the best teams from the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest, the Red and the Gray clubs delivered “The best showing ever by the Hudson River Bandits organization at a national tournament,” according to the team founder, Rudy Netek.

The 12Under Banditas tied for 17th out of 78 teams. The 14Unders tied for 9th out of 107 teams, and the 16Under teams tied for 13th out of 92 teams.

According to Netek, there are no guaranteed spots on the Hudson River Bandits from year to year: “The Bandits believe in an ‘open tryout’ process for all 14 roster spots, where COMPETITION drives the players on each year. The primary criteria given to the coaches when they select teams each year is that a ‘new face’ must be a ‘significantly’ better player than a returning player to capture a roster spot, and displace a Bandits player from the previous year,” according to Netek.

Factors determining whether a player makes the Bandits are physical ability, athletic attributes, softball playing abilities and softball skills, attitude and approach to the game of both the player and the parents.

The Bandits play a 50 game schedule beginning in May, requiring extensive travel around the Rockland County, Dutchess County and Connecticut region, culminating in a trip to the Nationals at the end of July.Players selected will also play a fall schedule of games on Sundays beginning September 16.

Netek, who founded the Bandits in 1997, remarked: “As the Hudson River Bandits organization matures, the pool of capable, qualified, and distinguished coaching applicants widens, making the coaching selection process easier, while at the same time, makingit more difficult to settle on a limited staff. We simply have no bad or questionable options this year. The coaching staffs for all teams from this past summer were outstanding. All were successful with the girls both on and off the field.”

Commenting on the Bandit philosophy, Netek said, “The winners on the Bandits are the girls, the players who comprise the Hudson River Bandits. They are the reason we all, parents, coaches, and friends, happily do all that we do for ten months of the year. They are the beneficiaries of excellent coaching staffs year after year. Their careers on the softball diamonds, playing a game they simply love to play, are fairly short lived. Every year needs to be their best year ever and it’s all of our jobs to see that it is. Memories are lasting.”

For more information, contact the Hudson River Bandits by e-mail at HRBandits@aol.com.

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CitizeNetReporter to Affiliate With Westchester Network

The CitizeNetReporter announced today that the popular White Plains news website is becoming a flagship affiliate of the Westchester Network on September 5. A prototype of a redesigned site has already been built and preparations for going live are already underway.
“I’m excited about the new features the Westchester Network format brings to my demanding, news-starved audience, ” said John Bailey, Executive Editor of The CitizeNetReporter. “With the ability to let me instantly update the site, I can put up more news faster than any other news medium in the city. The site design has built-in interactive comment features, access to Westchester County government news, Yonkers news, Scarsdale news and the ability to conduct viewer surveys on an instant turn-around status.”

Bailey added: “The Westchester Network format brings three new and unique dimensions to my readers. The format is more accessible to them, easier to navigate and presents more details on more stories faster at a glance.”

Viewers will still access the site at the old URLs they have been using: WhitePlainsCNR.com, WPCNR.com, or WhitePlainsCitizeNetReporter.com. However, they will soon see a redesigned front page but with the old familiar trademark White Plains Cityscape.

New WPCNR Website
The new WPCNR website.
Click on the image for a larger version.

Weather, Government, School, Community, and Sports categories are covered with picturesque logos.

Stories will be listed with bullet headlines, complete with synopsis so viewers can tell instantly exactly what stories they want to read first. As with the original CitizeNetReporter site, running stories from the past will appear in chronological order on the right side of the page.

The changeover will take place officially September 4, according to Bailey.

There will be no downtime while the site is readied. Within a few days, prototype postings will be made to the new site, according to Bailey. However the CitizeNetReporter will have no suspension of service.

“That’s the beauty of the Scarsdale Technologies system, ” Bailey added. “It is a turn-key operation putting me and the Yonkers Tribune way ahead of any other news website operations in the County. It could be a prototype for any news organization in other Westchester cities to just jump in and instantly upgrade their ability to service their news niche.”

The Westchester Network is the creation of Sean P.Cover, who is attempting to build a string of independent news operations providing gritty local coverage now missing from the Westchester news scene.

“The whole idea of The White Plains CitizeNetReporter,” Bailey added “was to force the traditional media to cover more White Plains news by providing the timely detail and local knowledge of White Plains that traditional news outlets no longer provide. The Westchester Network believes in the same philosophy.”

Cover, Publisher of the Westchester Network and editor of ScarsdaleToday.com, commented: “I’m pleased to welcome John Bailey’s White Plains CitizeNetReporter and Hezi Aris’ Yonkers Tribune as they join ScarsdaleToday as partners in the Westchester Network as independent affiliates.”

He welcomes what they bring to the table:

“With Mr. Bailey’s White Plains reporting and with Hezi Aris’ Yonkers reporting, our network adds two professional stalwart news operations and now simply provides more significant news about Yonkers, Scarsdale and White Plains than any other medium. By joining the Westchester Network, WPCNR and The Yonkers Tribune end up with beautiful, state-of-the-art, maintenance-free portal systems, giving the Network and the affiliates the status of a leading medium for prospective advertisers.”

“WPCNR and The Yonkers Tribune will get traffic from all the other Westchester Network sites, consisting of real estate listings, restaurant listings, classifieds, personals and more because their name and link will be in the header of EVERY page of the Westchester Network. Fans of the two sites will still get Bailey’s and Aris’ objective, insider reporting from persons who live in the communities they cover. Meanwhile Bailey and Aris will get more exposure and traffic.”

Bailey founded White Plains CitizeNetReporter in February, 2000. His coverage has brought White Plains citizens inside, in-depth coverage of city happenings that no medium, print or electronic duplicates. His stories have been complimented by public officials, politicians, public relations experts, and community advocates and longtime leading citizens as being balanced, fair, blunt and accurate and ahead of other media.

Bailey, in deciding to join the partnership said, “We decided to affiliate with Westchester Network to upgrade our site and make it more interactive and technically professional. Not only does it allow me, a non-technical person hands-on, instant access, but its thoughtful infrastructure gives advertisers more frequent venues for repeated exposure and good will.”

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American Cancer Society “Making Strides Walk” October 14th

Candyce Corcoran writes: This morning (August 2) I attended the American Cancer Society’s annual 7 am breakfast kick off for breast cancer awareness. What made today’s breakfast a little tougher on me was not the fact that a a movie was shown that made everyone’s eyes fill up with tears, but that somewhere in the very same room was my mother, Yvonne.
My mother is a breast cancer survivor. She had a radical mastectomy in 1979. And quite frankly, now I know where I do get all of my energy! Right from her!

As many of you are aware, I have been a team captain for many years trying to raise funds to rid all of us of this dreadful disease. Last year, thanks to many of you, I was able to send money to the American Cancer Society in a package.

Just remember, “that if it has not already, breast cancer will touch you or someone you know. The disease will strike nearly 200,000 times this year and claim more than 40,000 lives.” (according to the American Cancer Society)

Since, 1993, Making Strides has been the rally to raise awareness. Last year 325,000 walkers across the country collected more than $26 million dollars.

Please join me again this year by walking with me (I will attempt some of the trip because of my broken foot) or at least by making a contribution to the American Cancer Society.

The walk is on Sunday, October 14, 2001. Registration is 8 to 10:30 a.m. and the event starts at 9:30 to 10:30. We will be walking 5 miles at Manhattanville College.

Thank you once again for all of your support,

Candyce Corcoran

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