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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 7:48 AM
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New Rochelle, N.Y.: LeCount Sq; 575', 375'

This proposal has been around for a while, and has undergone another change...
http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/p...60/1018/NEWS02

More office space proposed for LeCount Square

By JERRY GLEESON
THE JOURNAL NEWS
July 13, 2007


Developer Louis Cappelli has sharply redrawn his proposed LeCount Square project in downtown New Rochelle, more than tripling the amount of office space while reducing the residential component by half.

Cappelli said strong office demand in neighboring Manhattan contributed to the new strategy.

"I think that every place there's property next to a train station, people should be contemplating office sites - now," Cappelli said yesterday. "For $50 a foot (in rent) it works up here, but you couldn't get that before, because Manhattan was getting $50 a foot. Now Manhattan is getting $100 a foot."

Last month, Cappelli unveiled a plan for a new office complex around a renovated White Plains train station, but was unable to garner Common Council support to move as quickly as he desired.

LeCount Square, currently budgeted at $400 million, would be a block from the New Rochelle train station. The project has undergone changes in recent years.

Cappelli last proposed a hotel, 120,000 square feet of office space and 527 condominiums in two 500-foot towers, rising from a three-story retail and restaurant complex.

The new plan retains the retail complex but changes the mix and look of the other elements.

The entire north tower would be occupied by office space, now measuring 400,000 square feet.

The first two floors above retail would be available for financial trading use, with floors of 40,000 square feet. The remaining floors would be 23,500 square feet.

With a broader area, the north tower would be shorter at 375 feet. The south tower would include a 209-room hotel on the lower 13 floors, plus 200 condos. Another 58 condos would be built in an adjacent loft building. The south tower would measure 500 feet, plus another 75 to allow for rooftop mechanical equipment.

Retail space would be increased by 20,000 square feet to a total of 200,000.

Restaurant space would be reduced from 22,000 square feet to a total of 12,000.

Cappelli was asked if he would have still changed the LeCount Square strategy if his proposal in White Plains had not stalled.

"I think so," he said. "Because this is going to be able to be delivered probably about a year before I could deliver White Plains.

"As I said to the city council of White Plains, in the last eight months the Manhattan office market has gone through the roof, and there's plenty of tenants up here looking now ... if the right office development was next to a train station," he said.

"Those big tenants need to make a decision two years in advance to move their 300, 400,000 square feet. They're making major league decisions here, they need major league designs. ... I'm not looking for little office tenants here, 10-, 20,000 square feet. I'm looking for 2-, 300,000 square-foot tenants."

Slowing demand for residential housing in the Lower Hudson Valley was not a factor in his decision, Cappelli said.

"I sold almost 95 percent of my first tower at the Ritz-Carlton condos" in White Plains, he said. "The condominium market is good."

Cappelli said condo buyers will be moving into his Trump Plaza at New Rochelle starting early next month. He said 70 percent of those condos have been sold.

The LeCount Square changes were outlined in a supplement to a report on the project that the city requires for review purposes. City officials expect that review will take several more months.

In a statement, Mayor Noam Bramson said he was "encouraged" by the new plan. "Developing office space in close proximity of our new Intermodal Transportation Center is consistent with our city's commitment to 'smart growth' planning," Bramson said in the statement. "The addition of more office space to our downtown will enliven the daytime streetscape and further energize our retail stores."


Westchester's office market is seeing lower vacancy rates, although the troubled subprime mortgage market has led to closings of some offices in the area. The overall vacancy rate for Class A office space in lower Westchester, including New Rochelle, Yonkers, Mount Vernon and Pelham, stood at 7.1 percent in the past quarter, down from 17.9 percent a year earlier, according to data from office broker Cushman & Wakefield.

William V. Cuddy Jr., senior vice president for office broker CB Richard Ellis, said a dearth of recently-built office space in the region keeps demand strong.

"That actually could be a strong competitive advantage for his (Cappelli's) project, in that the building would be built to the highest standards for technology, energy efficiency and the like," he said.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 7:51 AM
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Planning for an earlier version...
http://www.newrochelleny.com/eimpact.asp
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Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 8:14 AM
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Old article, another old version...
http://www.westchestercbj.com/archiv...1023060006.php

Cappelli seeks to expand towers at LeCount Square



Louis R. Cappelli wants to build five additional stories for both of the apartment towers proposed as part of his $500 million LeCount Square mixed-use project for downtown New Rochelle.


By ALEX PHILIPPIDIS
October 23, 2006


Louis R. Cappelli expected to spend $12 million for the parcels that comprise a downtown New Rochelle block where he has proposed his $500 million LeCount Square mixed-use project.

Instead, he shelled out more than $32 million.

So eager was the Valhalla developer to make deals that sellers drove prices higher. Among them were Anthony and Frank Longhitano, a pair of brother developers with whom Cappelli had squabbled over this and some of his other projects. The Longhitanos received almost $7 million from Cappelli for their 15,000-square-foot 15-21 Anderson St., a commercial “taxpayer” property appraised at $1.9 million, said Joseph V. Apicella, senior vice president with Cappelli Enterprises Inc.

Cappelli Enterprises cites its acquisition expenses, plus a three-year spike in construction costs, as reasons why it wants New Rochelle officials to approve 10 more stories for each of the two apartment towers Cappelli plans for LeCount Square.

“This is to compensate for not being able to acquire the site at fair-market price,” Apicella said. “In order to avoid eminent domain, we paid well over three times the appraised value on these sites. It cost over $32 million to assemble 2.2 acres.”

He said Cappelli sought to avoid a repeat of 2000-01, when the city took steps toward eminent domain land acquisitions for an Ikea store only to stoke opposition that eventually killed the plan.

Apicella disclosed Cappelli’s desire to expand LeCount Square during an Oct. 12 address to the Commercial & Investment Division of the Westchester County Board of Realtors, held at the board’s White Plains offices.

Cappelli now wants to build two towers 500-feet tall, roughly 50 stories. Until now, the developer’s plans for LeCount Square have called for two 390-foot towers above a three-story retail “podium.”

Additional stories would increase the project density above the current 1.1 million square feet -- containing 371 dwelling units, 180,917 square feet of retail space, 21,560 square feet of restaurant space, a 172-key hotel with unspecified number of residences, and 189,924 square feet of office space.

The project would also include a rooftop garden open to the public with a cafe and restaurant intended to draw patrons through panoramic views of Long Island Sound.

LeCount Square would rise on a city block bordered by LeCount Place, Anderson and Huguenot streets and North Avenue. One current building on the block would be preserved -- the main New Rochelle post office at 255 North Ave., completed in 1937, though the U.S. Postal Service would move its trucks off the block.

Cappelli Enterprises hopes to break ground on the project in April 2007, with the first occupants moving into the apartments by April 2010.

INFORMAL APPROACH

At deadline, Cappelli had not made a formal request of the council to amend its original development application, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Branson said.

“They have approached us informally,” Bramson said. “Our response has been to require additional information -- a justification. We’re still in an information-gathering mode now.”

Cappelli hopes New Rochelle officials will be as amenable to expanding one of his projects as their counterparts in White Plains were last year when they approved five additional stories for the twin towers of his $400 million Renaissance Square hotel-apartment-retail complex, now under construction.

LeCount Square’s current plan has become unfeasible as Cappelli’s development costs have multiplied, Apicella told the real estate group. He cited regional construction costs that have risen as much as 25 percent over the past three years, but said that wasn’t why the developer is seeking a larger project.

“When you’re 16, 17, 18 million dollars over your budget (because) you thought your acquisition price was $12 million … I have to go back to the municipality and say, ‘Let’s creatively try to solve this without hurting you and without hurting me. Otherwise you have a slowdown on the job. It doesn’t move forward. And that’s not in your best interest, certainly not in mine,’” Apicella said.

Westchester construction costs are influenced by New York City, where a New York Building Congress study released earlier this month concluded those costs will exceed last year’s by nearly 11 percent, and are growing at a rate of 1 percent per month.

The construction cost spike was successfully cited earlier this year by another Westchester developer, Martin Ginsburg, to win approvals for a denser urban project in White Plains. Ginsburg and Manhattan builder A.J. Rotunde received a green light to add 32 units and five stories to their $200 million project The Pinnacle, resulting in a luxury condo building of 28 stories and 171 units.

TARGET, STARWOOD TALKS

Apicella said Cappelli is in talks with Target as the project’s retail anchor. Big-box retailers like Target would be located in the second and third levels of the retail podium, with the street level reserved for smaller boutique shops.

Talks have also begun with a prospective user for both the retail and hotel portions of LeCount Square.

“We’re talking to Starwood,” Apicella said -- as in White Plains-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which is searching Westchester and Connecticut for a new headquarters office site. “Boy would I love to lure Starwood to this site.”

He said LeCount Square would allow Starwood to locate in one place its offices and a new hotel-residences project for Starwood’s W brand: “That’s something we’re considering.”

Earlier this year, Starwood lost out to The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C. for a deal to operate the hotel and residences within Cappelli’s $400 million Renaissance Square, now under construction in White Plains. Ritz-Carlton is scheduled in 2008 to open there a 123-room hotel and 213 residences.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 5:20 PM
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http://www.globest.com/news/948_948/.../162257-1.html

Cappelli Revamps $350M LeCount Square Project

By John Jordan
July 13, 2007

NEW ROCHELLE, NY-Last month developer Louis Cappelli failed to convince White Plains officials that a new office project geared to take advantage of the tight Manhattan office market was a good idea. Five-and-a-half weeks since being turned aside there, he is asking city leaders here to approve a change in his proposed $350-million LeCount Square mixed-use development that would nearly triple the amount of office space to be built at the downtown site adjacent to the New Rochelle train station.

Cappelli, president of Valhalla-based Cappelli Enterprises, reports that his firm is seeking to reposition its pending LeCount Square project by increasing the office space component from 126,000 sf to nearly 400,000 sf. Also part of the repositioning will be the reduction of the number of luxury residential units from 527 to 258.

“Our new alternative plan for LeCount Square more accurately reflects the growing demand in our region for class A office space that is located near major transportation hubs,” Cappelli says. “The concept of transit-oriented office use is a relatively unique product in Westchester County. Our project will be ideally situated to serve this important sector of the high-end office market.”

Cappelli offers the same argument for his revised LeCount Square project as he did a month ago for his Station Square office project in Downtown White Plains that would have featured more than one million sf of new office space to be built by the White Plains railroad station. The Station Square project was eventually rejected when the White Plains Common Council refused to sign an exclusivity agreement with the firm.

In reference to the LeCount Square project, Cappelli notes the tight office market in Manhattan that is securing rents approaching or exceeding $100 per sf is fueling demand for quality class A office space in Westchester County that can be delivered in the next two years.

“The office space at LeCount Square will be on par with the quality you expect to find in a Manhattan office building,” he adds.

Joseph Apicella, senior vice president of Cappelli Enterprises, notes that recently the City of New Rochelle amended its Memorandum of Understanding with the development firm to increase the density of the project from 850,000 sf to 1.15 million sf. The city is currently modifying its comprehensive plan and density bonus provisions. Cappelli’s modification to its original plan was presented as part of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement the firm recently submitted to the city.

Apicella admits that the rejection of the Station Square project in White Plains played at least a part in the firm’s decision to skew the LeCount Square venture in the Queen City toward commercial office use.

“It is exactly the same market we planned on approaching to be part of the Station Square project,” he says. While he would not provide specifics on talks the firm has had with prospective New York City tenants, Apicella notes, “I can tell you we would not be repositioning the office part…if I did not have the market to fill the space.”

The modified plan also includes a reduction of one of the two high-rise towers from 500 ft to 375 ft. The other tower will be approximately 50 stories (500 ft). The two towers will rise from a three-level retail podium. The north tower building will contain strictly office space with the first two floors above the retail featuring 40,000-sf floor plates geared toward trading floor use. The remaining office floors will have floor plates of approximately 23,500 sf. Also planned for the project is a 209-room hotel and 200,000 sf of retail, up from 180,192 sf in the original proposal and 12,000 sf of restaurant space, down from 22,000 sf based on the original plan.
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Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 6:44 PM
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This decade, New Rochelle has come practically out of nowhere in the highrise boom. There wasn't anything over 15 stories until 2001. Becoming a second White Plains fast.

Good looking additions. I've been watching this skyline rise dramatically the last several years from Long Island's north shore.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 1:38 PM
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wow. i can just imagine that last render in real life in new rochelle. speechless. ive actually been talking to this random new rochelle resident over facebook back and forth about the new developments downtown, im pro, he's con. this will really tick him off. im as happy as a clam
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 5:22 PM
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ive actually been talking to this random new rochelle resident over facebook back and forth about the new developments downtown, im pro, he's con. this will really tick him off. im as happy as a clam
You'll probably get more of that...
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2007, 5:21 PM
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I am a downtown New Rochelle resident. Will this thread be dedicated the NR? I hope so.
Will be taking some pictures (including interior Trump finished units) over the next week and will be posting.
Has anyone heard anything about the area between Lawton Street, North Avenue, and Hugeunot street? This area is directly across North Avenue from the LeCount project. I know a few tenants that have to close up by 2008 and they are not too sure whats going on...
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2007, 11:09 PM
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Scruffy, can you list some of his reasons as to why he's con? Just curious.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2007, 2:32 PM
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Has anyone heard anything about the area between Lawton Street, North Avenue, and Hugeunot street? This area is directly across North Avenue from the LeCount project. I know a few tenants that have to close up by 2008 and they are not too sure whats going on...
I think the best information on that would probably come from the city.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2007, 2:46 PM
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http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/p...707290382/1018

Quote from an article in the Journal News:

The Godfrey-Tarantino contest is a rematch. Four years ago, Tarantino won the line, but Godfrey remained in the race on an independent line. Democrat Jack Quinlan won the seat but later resigned. He was replaced by former Councilwoman Chris Selin, who is not running now. Tarantino holds the Conservative, Independence and Working Families lines.

Godfrey and Tarantino sparred over development, although both said skyscrapers rising downtown are too much for the city, including towers by developers Joseph Simone and Louis Cappelli that could reach 500 feet or more.

"They're making all these changes and they don't know what the future is going to hold for this city: sewage, traffic, air pollution and congestion," Godfrey, a retired New York City education supervisor, said of the current council. She sought to peg Tarantino as supportive of the massive development because he is a business owner downtown.

"Of course Al is going to support development," she said.

Tarantino said that he does, indeed, oppose the size of the development as it has been rising in the city. He wants to see reasonable building in the city, but not "development for the sake of development, which is what I've been seeing going on in the city of New Rochelle."

"I think that 40- and 50-story buildings are not really what the community wants to see going forward," he said.

Tarantino said his work and his roles as a board member of the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District and the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce show that "I live it every day."

Johnson said he would let the two Republicans battle each other while he conducted "ongoing, solution-based conversations" with residents.

At first, he said of Simone's plan and LeCount Square: "I don't think that those two projects have gone too far," although he had concerns about them.

He later said: "My concern is that their height and density are not in scale with the surrounding community and that this may have a negative impact on key quality-of-life issues."
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2007, 3:04 PM
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Height and density of the Empire State Building was even more grossly out of scale with the community. Shame they built it, eh?

Worries about increased demand on infrastructure are understandable, yet it's still very disappointing to see such suburban, defeatist mindset in so many people's minds. Some say that countries like China are able to pull off their amazing projects because their totalitarian governments would brutally suppress any opposition. That may be partially true, I can't vouch for sure, yet something tells me that it's also because the people there are not nearly as narcissist and self-centered and would not break down in penis envy shit fits every time a building is proposed near them that's larger than theirs.
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Old Posted Aug 1, 2007, 4:36 PM
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Peggy Godfrey is a well-known New Rochelle rabble-rouser. Her hatred of development may stem from a unreconciled childhood disorder or, perhaps, she once dated a developer who left her. But seriously, she must be defeated in any upcoming election.
There are two additional high-density plots in New Rochelle available for development. One is on Garden Street, on the corner of North Avenue, and another is across from the LeCount project on North/Hugeunot/Lawton square. With her on the council, these may never have a chance to reach the grand dimensions developers- and us- so surely would love to see them at.
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 12:56 AM
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There are two additional high-density plots in New Rochelle available for development. One is on Garden Street, on the corner of North Avenue, and another is across from the LeCount project on North/Hugeunot/Lawton square. With her on the council, these may never have a chance to reach the grand dimensions developers- and us- so surely would love to see them at.
Well, you now know what your mission is...

By any means neccessary....
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 6:01 PM
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Well, you now know what your mission is...

By any means neccessary....
She has some sort of tic which makes her difficult to watch when she speaks. This will probably cost her votes, too.

The council composition is extremely important. We can see development cease overnight if the wrong people get voted in I am doing my part, talking up the pro-development candidates. I think we'll be OK, but then, if a lot of NIMBYS vote, they may carry a few coucilships simply because of pro-development citizens' apathy. Look what happened in White Plains.
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 11:24 PM
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are you in city government or an outside observer patrick? if you don't mind my curiousity, how old are you?
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