In email exchange with Greenstein, Chases characterize town’s process as “no process”
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Editor’s Note: In a follow up to Open Letter to TB members: New Castle doesn’t deserve “good”—it deserves “great”, NCNOW.org, 5/19/14, by Peter and Erin Chase, Supervisor Rob Greenstein emailed the couple to explain the Board’s thinking in choosing Leslie Lampert’s proposal for the use of the Chappaqua Train Station space. His email and the Chases’ email response follow.
Erin & Peter,
I’m sorry that you were disappointed with the process!
The decision for the Town Board in this case required us to determine what would best serve the needs of our residents and provide the best overall value to our community. After careful consideration and review of the presentations, the majority of the Board voted to accept the proposal by Leslie Lampert to open an establishment called Love at 10514.
One of the Town Board’s concerns in terms of leasing the Train Station Depot was the nature of the renovations that would be required to allow the building to function as a restaurant. A majority of the Board believed that converting the interior of the Depot into a full service restaurant was not in the taxpayers’ best interests. In our view, Leslie’s proposal meets the needs of our community and provides the best re-adaptive use of Depot’s beautiful interior space.
We strongly encourage you to consider other locations in our Town to open a restaurant and join our business community!
From: Peter and Erin Chase
Subject: Re: Chappaqua Train Station
Date: May 21, 2014 at 6:29:25 PM EDT
Robert and the Board,
I think you may have our proposal mistaken with someone else. At no time have we conveyed that we wanted to open a “full service restaurant”. We proposed “a market space with an adjacent room for seating”. If you go back and review our presentation to you and the board on March 11th, at the 20:03 mark Peter states “because we are not a full blown restaurant”. As to your comment about full service, the only time there would be staff serving tables would be in the evening hours. For breakfast and lunch guests would purchase food in the La Track space and then would enjoy their meal in either the main room, outside on the terrace, or on their way to the next stop. During our presentation Peter also states “any one considering a full blown restaurant, it’s going to be tough, there is no backup storage”.
In our answers to the RFP we also stated we do not need gas or propane for cooking and we would not be cooking with grease so we did not need to worry about disposing of grease. All of these responses to the town’s RFP questions should indicate to any landlord that we are not proposing a restaurant. In fact, one of our answers states “based on our offering, we do not anticipate large volumes of refuse common to a normal restaurant operation.” Additionally, we stated that we would “redesign the existing La Track space to function more efficiently as a food based market” . No where in our proposal do we use the word restaurant. We also state “our goal is to retain almost everything that exists”. Our initial offer of rent was $3,246 per month knowing that in negotiations back and forth we were probably going to end up paying upwards of $3,500 per month. In last nights work session you stated that the lease with Love at 10514 is for 10 years with a 5 year renewal option with rent initially at $3,300 per month, with some escalation, that was not noted. $3,300 is below fair market rent for the Train Station.
We love the history of the train station and even spent time at the New Castle Historical Society to find out more information on the train station. As business owners we cannot just open in any space that is vacant, we believe that a restaurant is not just about what food is served it is about the entire offering and that includes the actual building. Yes there are spaces available in Chappaqua, but we truly loved the train station and wanted to celebrate its history.
We have submitted a full copy of our proposal to NewCastleNow.org. The public can decide for themselves if you made the best decision for our town. It is a shame our elected officials did not take the time to fully vet all applicants to ensure the Train Station tenant would be the right tenant for the town, especially because we, as residents, are the ultimate landlord of the Train Station.
Yes, we all should be disappointed in the process as there truly was no process.
Erin & Peter Chase