WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. February 24, 2020 UPDATED WITH VIDEO ACTUALITY 12:45 AM EST:
The attorney for the developer planning to build a new signature gateway project replacing the White Plains Mall, requested a three year site p an extension at the televised Common Council Special meeting last night. It is the second developer to ask for an extension in three weeks. Grid Properties was the other.
Bill Null the Hamilton Green attorney, said the mall is still occupied by the Department of Motor Vehicles and a dialysis center and there was no certainty as to when the property could be ready for demolition. He also pointed out the equity financiers the developer is negoting with, was reluctant to finance all the project at once and preferred to fund in two stages.
Null suggested an arrangement similar to the Bank Street project done in two stages. He said a one-year extension would not do much good because even if demolition began by October that might not be time enough to start the project where the property need remediation of contaminants.
He gave no timetable when financing could be arranged. He said his client did not want to be held to doing the underground parking below the open space project first. Mayor Roach showing visible disappointment at the news asked when financing might be completed. Null said he could not commit to one.
In questioning by Common Council persons Jennifer Puja and Justin Brash, Null said Puja was being unfair in criticizing the PILOT agreement, which had not, Null said, been hammered out yet as the owner was still paying property taxes and deriving income from the property. He told Brash the project might not start for 5 years due to the two-stage financing equity partners were requesting. Brash alluded to the practice developers in the recent past have had in achieving a site plan approval, not starting the project and selling the property instead. Null said his client is committed to developing the property.
Councilman James Kirkpatrick asked Null to arrange to have the principals of the developer come in and address the council. (Drew Greenwald the principal of Grid Properties did address the council four weeks ago. on his project, The Boulevard, that has not started after 4 years of site plan extensions. Greenwald told the Council, his company was committed to the project. )
In other action Monday evening, Richard Hart Commissioner of Public Works described a project extending the Greenway Trail to Bolton Avenue which he expected to be completed by the spring.
Hart also introduced a replacement of light towers at recreation fields, replacing them with LED lights which would earn the city $614,000 over ten years.
Judith Mezey, The Deputy Commissioner of Planning outlined a plan to revise Community Development eligibility requirements to reinstate elighibility of condominiums and co-ops and commercial buildings in areas targeted by the city and introducing the ability to fund “soft costs”. The targeted areas would be introduced in late June. The Deputy Commissioner also said homeowners in all areas of the city could be considered for community development funds for minor repairs.
Karen Pasquale, the Executive Assistant to Mayor introduced a plan where the city would charge 5 cents per paper bag supplied by stores, mostly supermarkets, which are prohibited from using plastic bags beginning March 1. She said the plan would have the city would receive 20% of funds raised by the 5 cent tax per paper bag. Council President Nadine Hunt-Robinson observed plastic bags are often used for garbage bags in homes throughout the city. Councilman Brasch suggested the 20% cut the city gets could be used to provide reusable bags to citizens to cut down on paperbag usage.