L to E: Retail at Chappaqua Crossing “a bad project that will be bad for our town”

Monday, March 31, 2014

Editor’s Note: In 2013 Steve Coyle, an investor in commercial real estate for the past 25 years, wrote several letters to the editor in NCNOW stating his reasons for opposing proposed retail zoning for Chappaqua Crossing.  Last week he wrote again to NCNOW stating his reasons for believing that “this is a bad project that will be bad for our town.  I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that.” 

A Town Board with three new members is again fast-tracking the application for a zoning change at Chappaqua Crossing to permit a 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods and 80,000 square feet of additional retail, which Supervisor Rob Greenstein has stated he intends to approve regardless.  But this rezoning now makes up only half of Greenstein’s plan.  The other half is to move Town Hall to the cupola building at Chappaqua Crossing and develop (or have Summit Greenfield develop) the town hall site with “transit-oriented” residential. 

Because 1) a Master Plan review process is only just getting started, 2) Adam Brodsky’s volunteer Downtown Business Development Advisory Committee (meant to advise the TB on viability of the two-part plan and on its implementation) will not meet until late April, and 3) the details of Supervisor Greenstein’s plan have not been released nor its ramifications studied in any detail, NCNOW asked Coyle what he thought about the two-part plan. First, Coyle’s letter of last week:

Letter from Steve Coyle

Coyle: As I said in my previous letters to the Town Board, Chappaqua Crossing is an inappropriate site for retail development in my opinion.  It remains an inappropriate site for retail development, even with the new site plan.  Designing it as an urban village transit oriented development site will not change that. 

• First, this is a suburban location that is not well-served by mass transit and is, at best, a destination location. 

• Second, the roads and infrastructure to/from the site are inferior and already too crowded. 

• Third, the proposed parking is inadequate if the site were to attract anchors/tenants such as the developer is proposing. 

• Fourth, there is simply too much satellite to anchor square footage.  As I have said in my prior letters, the proper ratio of anchor to satellite square footage is no more than 1:1.  With a 40,000 square foot grocery, the proposed ratio in Chappaqua Crossing is 1:2 (anchor to satellite).  In my professional experience, ratios such as this usually lead to higher-than-average vacancy rates and lower-than-average rents.

• Finally, with limited visibility from the major thorough fares, the center’s chances for success are substantially lessened.  Less success = lower rents and higher vacancies = lower tax revenues. 

This is a bad project that will be bad for our town.  I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that.

NCNOW’s follow-up questions and Coyle’s responses

NCNOW: Any opinion about the “swap” of town hall property for the cupola building floors 1 and 2 as a town hall and police? I’m not sure whether the plan includes buying or leasing the cupola space, but I’ve heard that the developer might be willing to pay for all the renovations necessary to make town hall and the police department fit the cupola building.

Coyle: No opinion here.  I haven’t studied the site that currently occupies Town Hall.  I don’t know the acreage, the potential wetland issues, or the density/parking that the site can handle.  I do think that the town hall is a superior site in terms of visibility and access, holding all other elements constant (but those are big assumptions).

NCNOW: What about apartments in floors 3 and 4 of cupola building that would be either: 

a. affordable so that all 111 of the other units could be market rate;

Coyle:  I believe that this would be against the 80/20 regulations [80% market rate, 20% affordable for multifamily development].  Affordable units need to be integrated with the market rate units.  Also, this would add to the stigma of our town as being anti-affordable housing.

NCNOW:  Or . . .

b. market rate, keeping the 20 affordable with the other 91 market rate units (60 fee simple townhouses, 31 market-rate condos)

Coyle:  I have not walked the cupola space, nor have I seen blue prints for the space, so I cannot comment.  I am not sure of the depth of the building, (which is often a problem when converting office to residential), the ceiling heights, window lines, etc.  I can’t offer a professional opinion without careful analysis and the facts, sorry.

NCNOW:  Does this dual use of the cupola building make sense?

Coyle:  It could, but there would need to be separate entrances.  The building would have to meet separate life/safety measures, etc.  Mixed use is a tougher use.  Mixed-use buildings tend to have more limited success, but there are examples of them working.  However, in my experience, most successful mixed-use buildings are in urban, not suburban, locations, and even within urban locations, most mixed-use has had a mixed track record of success (pun intended).

NCNOW:  Does the residential—the 111 units of housing (apartment buildings and townhouse condos)—help make the entire organism – office-retail-residential—work?

Coyle:  I don’t think that there will be the synergies in this project that many other live-work-play projects have simply because this is a suburban destination that is not well served by mass transit. 

The live-work-play environments that have worked have tended to be in urban locations and those near universities and colleges.  Chappaqua fits neither of those characteristics, and we are certainly not a 24-7 city.  (Nor do the surrounding neighbors want this location to be one!)

NCNOW:  You’ve heard about the slip lane on the northwest corner of RBR and 117 (within Summit Greenfield’s power to alter), and creation of a northbound left turn lane to go from 117 on to Roaring Brook Road (only within DOT’s power to alter)?  Isn’t that good enough?

Coyle: No, I think this is like putting a Band-aid on serious laceration that requires surgery.  The roadways here are already terribly overburdened.  This will be made much worse if Chappaqua Crossing emerges as a retail shopping center as well.  You will have horrendous traffic congestion with or without a slip lane.

NCNOW: And on the subject of too much traffic, we’re heard from Planning Board member Tom Curley that in order to compensate for the 120,000 square feet of new retail footprint (since no retail is now proposed as occupying existing office space, but is all new footprint), Summit Greenfield is willing to have some amount of existing office space “go dark,” that is, foreswear the use of it.  Is there a precedent for this type of deal? 

Coyle:  I’ve never seen it before, in my experience.  Typically, the owner would have a maximum FAR (floor area ratio) on the site.  They would have to demolish space before they could build additional space if they exceeded the FAR [floor area ratio].

NCNOW:  Supervisor Greenstein views a 30,000-square-foot gym as not-exactly-retail—or not really as much retail at Chappaqua Crossing as the 120,000-square-feet number makes it seem—and therefore not harmful to existing retail in the hamlets.

Coyle: This could be true, but gyms typically generate even more traffic than most stores and they generate it for more hours per day.  (It starts earlier and ends much later into the day).

NCNOW: He also points out that the 100 Building (on one side of the cupola building) will be eliminated, and the 300 Building (on the other side of the cupola building) will be reduced.  So there’s some office square footage gone. 

Coyle: How much space will be removed?  I haven’t seen any estimates.  I think we need numbers here. 

NCNOW: One Planning Board member liked the plan for its adaptability: the bigger medium-box spaces could be broken up into smaller ones someday, if-or-when retail goes in the direction of smaller space.  Is that a reasonable future?

Coyle:  I really don’t see how junior anchor space can be reconfigured effectively into in-line smaller satellite space.  Typically junior anchors require space that is deeper than in-line space.

NCNOW:  Why is Whole Foods willing to come if it’s such a bad location and set up?

Coyle: First of all, has anyone seen a letter of intent from Whole Foods?  I would like to know for sure that this exists.  Has anyone seen it besides the folks from Summit Greenfield?  If it does exist, typically it is not yet a binding agreement from Whole Foods that they will execute a lease at the project.  All that being said, Whole Foods looks for a certain demographic and parking requirements.  Chappaqua, Bedford, Armonk and many of the surrounding towns meet that desired demographic.

NCNOW: We’ve learned from Tom Curley that there will be a separate developer for the residential portion of Chappaqua Crossing, and he feels confident that the town would maintain a fair amount control – through site plan approval – of the residential.  Does this sound encouraging?

Coyle: Yes.  I think that is definitely a positive.  I have long thought that the site works well from a residential perspective.  Having an experienced residential developer to oversee the project is a positive.

NCNOW: Is Summit Greenfield interested in making sure the retail-office-residential complex works as a whole, or not?

Coyle: Summit Greenfield is interested in making as best a return for their investors as they can.  That is their job, first and foremost.  They are fiduciaries to their investors and that needs to come before all other considerations.

NCNOW: If the retail proves difficult to lease, what are a developer’s typical next options?  Ask for more retail?  Convert more existing office space to retail?

Coyle: Typically, it would be to lower the rent and see if you can fill the space at numbers that still cover the debt service and expenses.  If a developer is unsuccessful in filling the space at numbers that work, then they may eventually face foreclosure from one of their lenders.  I am not saying that this is going to happen in this case, but it is what often happens to unsuccessful retail projects.

NCNOW: How can we be sure that the town is a match for the developer?  How can the town be sure of the value of what it’s getting (cupola for town hall) for what it’s giving (town hall property downtown) to the developer by granting the grocery-retail zoning change?

Coyle: Typically each side would make an offer and would use two independent appraisers (one hired by the town and one hired by the developer). 

NCNOW:  What else could work at Chappaqua Crossing?  Large office space, we’re told, is not coming back.  And Westchester is awash in it besides.

Coyle: I think good uses are age-restricted housing and assisted/independent senior living, as well as some more single-family residential.

NCNOW: Supervisor Greenstein has pretty much said that granting the grocery-retail zoning is a given, because the project has just gone on too long and gotten too far to go back now. 

Coyle:  I would hope that this is not the case.  If it is, then why didn’t we know this before the election?  The site has not been rezoned. There are no entitlements in place.  There is no approved site-plan.  This is still a long way from being a fait accompli, given my prior experiences.

NCNOW: Although the previous Town Board agreed in its settlement with Summit Greenfield only to conduct its review of the grocery-retail application within the time frame of about a year – and made no promise that it would approve the application – still, Greenstein says, the previous Town Board made its “Findings” at the end of last year based on the environmental review and stated that retail in the existing hamlets will not be harmed and that traffic problems can be mitigated.  He seems to view that as a commitment by the town to go forward with the zoning change.

Coyle:  Perhaps the Town’s lawyers are advising this, but it feels like a very conservative interpretation of the law to me.  I have seen many other municipalities deny or severely delay a retail project like this at this stage or even later in the process.  There is still a lot that has to happen here from a zoning and entitlement perspective.  Further, the Town is in the early stages of a new master plan.  It would not be unprecedented to have that impact the process.

NCNOW: Greenstein has said that if the town doesn’t approve the grocery-retail zoning now – after all this time during which Summit Greenfield has hoped and planned for it (and spent $12 million on it, according to Greenstein) – that the town will find itself “back in court.”  Is this a typical dilemma for developers and towns? 

Coyle: It is.  Developers often use the courts as a weapon.  I am not a lawyer and do not want to give legal advice.  However, I would say that I have seen many developers lose at stages that are even later than this.  To date, the Town has fared well in the courts.  In my opinion, the Town has fared better than the developer.

NCNOW: But underlying all this, remember, the town wants commercial revenues.  There’s the tax cap to deal with, and town (and school) staff have been cut substantially since the recession.  The Chappaqua Crossing property is seen as the last potential source of commercial revenues, providing some relief to residential taxpayers.  That’s why a previous Town Board cut the residential from the original 348 units down to 111 – to preserve the commercial potential of Chappaqua Crossing (office potential, that is – at the time, “retail” had never been mentioned). 

Coyle: As I stated in my previous letter, I think that Summit/Greenfield and the Town Board (in the past at least) have substantially over-estimated the tax revenues that will likely be generated by the grocery-retail project.

NCNOW: In fact, increasingly, it has seemed that the supervisor views a deal in which he grants Summit Greenfield grocery-retail zoning as only half the plan he is proposing.  The other half is to develop the town hall property in order to boost the “viability” of the Chappaqua hamlet.  Development on this town hall site is seen as one of the few moveable pieces in a downtown constrained by few roadways – and one of those a rumbling State thoroughfare – almost no side streets, a steep hill, poor traffic circulation and too little parking.  And as Greenstein has pointed out recently, half of South Greeley Avenue is taken with civic purposes – Bell, Library, Town Hall, rec field. 

Coyle: Shouldn’t this be part and parcel of the whole master plan review? It would seem so, from my perspective.

NCNOW:  So far Greenstein has left the rec field out of the swap concept; and while he has told Board of Ed members he’s thinking of an improved Bell field – with turf and lights perhaps – to increase “vitality” in the hamlet, he has distanced himself from Chuck Napoli’s concept of using the Bell field (and parking underneath) as the centerpiece of a pedestrian walkway behind the existing shops along South Greeley, faced by another row of shops along the side of the Bell field.  I can’t tell whether that plan will surface as part of the Master Plan review process or not.

Coyle:  There is a lot that may or may not go into the master plan.  It is at the very early stages.

NCNOW:  So Greenstein views permitting grocery-retail zoning at Chappaqua Crossing as the ticket to strengthening the Chappaqua hamlet through development on on the town hall site, most recently residential development. 

Coyle: I am not sure that I follow this logic.  Why would the Town give Summit Greenfield retail zoning at Chappaqua Crossing and give them access to the development parcel at Town Hall?  I can understand swapping the Town Hall for a portion of the space at Chappaqua Crossing and allowing retail at the Town Hall site, but not at Chappaqua Crossing. 

However, if you are implying that the Town would allow Summit Greenfield to develop retail at both Chappaqua Crossing and at the Town Hall site and, at the same time, would only be swapping office space at Town Hall for office space at Chappaqua Crossing, that would make no sense.  If that were the case, then the Town should issue an RFP for the site in town and sell it to the highest bidder.  The Town could then rent or lease space at Chappaqua Crossing or in another location if they wished.  I am not advocating this, or any other proposal.  It only seems strange to me that the Town Board would push for retail zoning at both Chappaqua Crossing and at the Town Hall site and would put Summit in the catbird seat as developer.

NCNOW:  Greenstein hasn’t indicated how much residential he’s imagining, but he has mentioned market-rate housing for “young families” and “seniors,” along with the required percentage of affordables – and perhaps some retail at ground level.  He believes that adding this residential foot-traffic will be a boon to commercial and cultural activity across the Chappaqua hamlet.  Does that make sense?

Coyle: So they are talking about dense residential development on the current Town Hall parcel?  Well, I would say that Town Hall is a better location for a mixed-use residential and retail than at a less urban-suburban location such as Chappaqua Crossing, but I think one still has to question what the desirability of dense urban style mid-rise product would be in Chappaqua. 

We are 39 miles from the city, and other than a few close-in suburbs, such as Bronxville, there is very little of this product in the suburbs.  While the millennials do seem to favor such product, they prefer it in urban locations served by mass-transit such as Brooklyn, not in outlying suburbs.  That being said, the location near the train station is a positive.  In my opinion though, Chappaqua would need to deliver a lot more amenities in terms of shops, restaurants and entertainment in order to attract such demand.  It is a theme that has been successful in more urban and youth-oriented communities, but there is definitely a risk to developing such product in Chappaqua.

Steve Coyle has been an investor in commercial real estate for the past 25 years and has invested in office, retail, industrial, hotel, apartments and other residential projects on behalf of large institutions and high net worth individuals in markets across the United States and the world. He is currently working for a large institutional owner and developer of real estate.  Any views expressed herein are solely his own and do not reflect the views of his current employer or any of his previous employers.
___________________________

Previous letters from Coyle:

  Letter to Town Board: TB members should never have suggested retail use at Chappaqua Crossing, NCNOW.org, 5/10/13

Open Letter to the Town of New Castle and NCNOW.org on Chappaqua Crossing, NCNOW.org, 5/14/13

Ltr to Editor: Retail at Chappaqua Crossing a big mistake for smaller gains than claimed, NCNOW.org, 9/24/13

Final Open Letter to the Town Board and Citizens of New Castle re: Chappaqua Crossing, NCNOW.org, 10/24/13


Comments(28):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

It’s a real pity that Mr. Coyle wasn’t snapped up when he applied to be on the Planning Board a year ago.  We almost certainly would have avoided our current jam.  Based on Mr. Coyle’s reading of the situation, Summit is playing our town like a fiddle.

By Dawn Greenberg on 03/31/2014 at 9:35 am

I disagree with Steve Coyle. He claims retail at CC “remains an inappropriate site for retail development.  He sites lack of mass transit, inadequate parking, lack of infrastructure and limited visibility.

The facts -all brick and mortar retail is being challenged by internet commerce but certain retail continues to thrive. A key anchor such as a high end supermarket (Whole Foods) continues to attract shoppers. People shop for food, produce, and everyday goods. They leave home and go to the gym, buy items/services that they can not get online (or are not comfortable ordering online).

This explains why delis, supermarket, restaurants, day spas, nail salons, gyms proliferate while book/music stores, shoe and apparel retailers suffer.

To his point about retail at CC, Coyle sites lack of mass transit. That is a non starter. People in our community/surrounding communities drive to shop and they will drive to Whole Foods. Bus /train service is irrelevant. He sites inadequate parking at CC. There is 110 acres of land there- they can build all the necessary parking to accommodate shoppers, diners, commercial-retail usage. Limited infrastrucure is probably the biggest challenge but with all that property there are reasonable workarounds. Lastly he sites limited visibility. that is a plus. No one wants to see a retail complex from the road. No one wants to be overwhelmed by signage and buildings. Don’t make a virtue in into a sin.

People rave about downtown Armonk . Armonk has no mass transit or excess parking. DeCicios is not seen from the street - there are no major roads into Armonk shopping. 
Proceed with retail at CC- I wish Greenstein-Team New Castle had run an honest campaign. Its hard to believe anything they say going forward. Coyle is correct about one thing. Greenstein says that the last town board set in motion retail at CC and it can not be reversed then why didn’t he tell us that during the campaign. He and Katz ran to stop retail at CC.

By Resident on 03/31/2014 at 10:21 am

Dawn - I disagree. Summit Greenfield is not playing our town like a fiddle. Greenstein , his team and their agenda are playing us like a fiddle. We elected 3 lawyers who should understand the laws if they took on the responsibility to govern. We elected Team New Castle that campaigned against the status quo of back office dealings and secret negotions. We elected Team New Castle in large part because they opposed retail at CC. They campaigned to stop retail at CC because of safety issues, property value issues, and the negative impact a third hamlet would have in downtown.

No sooner do they get into office and Greenstein is holding multiple secret negotiations with the developer. Within a few months he-they proclaim retail at CC is going to happen - oh and by the way, we will move town hall to CC as well. Now Greenstein says it can’t be helped because the last town board set this in motion. As Mr Coyle points out, if it can’t be helped then why didn’t Greenstein - Katz say that during the election period?

This is typical Greenstein talking out of both sides of his mouth. If Whole Foods and retail come to CC and it’s a success, Greenstein will take credit and pat himself on the back. If it should fail, Greenstein will blame the last town board. Nothing he does should surprise anyone. Brodsky is only in this to protect and enhance his downtown property and likely develop/ own more. He must recuse himself on any vote related to retail anywhere in Chapp as he has a clear conflict of interest.

I am most disturbed and angry at Lisa Katz who ran to stop this and has been invisible on retail at CC since she took office. She is a total disappointment and deceived all of us - her neighbors.

By RC on 03/31/2014 at 10:42 am

To Ms. Yeres and Mr. Coyle:  The 100 Building is two floors of almost 19,000 sf each, so the answer to how much office disappears with the take down of the 100 Building is: around 38,000 sf.

I can’t tell from Mr. Curley’s drawings how much sq footage of the 300 Building they’re offering to take down.

By Answer to the 100 Building space on 03/31/2014 at 10:45 am

Mr. Coyle’s professional analysis makes it certain.  We have to stop Greenstein.

By A time to act on 03/31/2014 at 11:12 am

Rob Greenstein on CC at LVW Candidates Night Oct. 25, 2013:

“Penny has said she’s in favor of a 120,000 square foot retail development . And the traffic still is up in the air. There are four intersections where they can’t alleviate the traffic situation.  The town didn’t do their own traffic study.  All they did was hire someone to review the developer’s traffic study.”

“Steve Coyle has a letter in NCNOW today and he has some great information about the financials, about how it doesn’t make an economic sense.  And this is a real estate investor and he’s written about three or four letters and each letter is incredible.  The point that sticks out is that when you sit down and take the time to write a letter, from someone who has expertise like he has—somebody who should be tapped, someone we should be brining into the process, with really incredible experience—this is the guy we should have sitting at the table with Summit Greenfield. He’s written three or four letters maining incredible points backed by his experience and knowledge.  And he’s dismissed as a NIMBY [Not-in-My-Backyard] and he’s not a NIMBY.  He’s someone interested in the character of the town, the safety of the schools and also the economics of it.  And the traffic is a major, major problem.  And this town board is about ready to approve it.  And Penny says the traffic is still to be resolved. Well, how are you going to approve a project and approve retail if they’re still studying this. Why rush it?  And you talk about having a grocery downtown.  We’re studying the Master Plan right now.  Why not wait?  Why not just figure out where we think as a community the best place to have a grocery store is?”

What happened?

Given what Mr. G said, we should be listening to Steve Coyle.

By Greenstein on Steve Coyle--candidates night on 03/31/2014 at 11:54 am

Resident / Rob,

Didn’t you ask Steve Coyle to be one of your speakers during your campaign ?  Wasn’t he one of your choices for the planning board?  Rob / Resident , you really must think that we are stupid. Wait, you do think that we are stupid, but you are mistaken.  We are all on to you and your complete dishonesty.  You are a huckster.

By another resident on 03/31/2014 at 12:20 pm

Based on RG’s past statement about Coyle, we see another case of his inability to be trusted.  The team said they would plan before they develop and they are clearly not doing that.  They are moving ahead with CC.

By another case in point on 03/31/2014 at 12:39 pm

Keep in mind that while Steve Coyle says HE would not invest in retail at the CC site, he is not the only investor out there.  It does appear that some sizeable investors do think this is a worthwhile investment.  The Town has to make a decision based on whether this is a good project for the town as a whole, not on whether some investor, who frankly isn’t relevant to the financial investment decision, thinks its a good investment (of somebody else’s money)We know Steve Coyle is opposed to the CC retail development, but he should stick to what’s relevant. If it would be bad for the town as a whole it should not be approved.  Otherwise maybe it should- let the people who are putting their own money into this worry about whether its a good investment.

By more than one investor on 03/31/2014 at 12:51 pm

Team New Castle headed by our Supervisor has misled (pun intended) us.  They sold us a bill of goods.  So far they have not done one thing they have promised.  I can only imagine what is in store.  It makes me very nervous.

By I was so proud of our Town on 03/31/2014 at 12:52 pm

In several comments in NewCastleNow and on Candidates Oct 25, 2013, Rob Greenstein praised Steve Coyle for his insight. He supported him as an experienced real estate investor and someone we should be listening to. Mr Coyle has been consistent in his opposition to retail at CC and Greenstein supported that view.

Mr Greenstein said about Coyle and retail at CC and I QUOTE –“ this is the guy we should have sitting at the table with Summit Greenfield. He’s written three or four letters making incredible points backed by his experience and knowledge. … He’s someone interested in the character of the town, the safety of the schools and also the economics of it.  And the traffic is a major, major problem.  And this town board is about ready to approve it.  And Penny says the traffic is still to be resolved. Well, how are you going to approve a project and approve retail if they’re still studying this? Why rush it?  And you talk about having a grocery downtown.  We’re studying the Master Plan right now.  Why not wait?  Why not just figure out where we think as a community the best place to have a grocery store is?”

Now Greenstein is the Supervisor. Has he gotten Coyle involved, had him sit on the Summit Greenfield secret negotiations? NOO! Is he ready to approve it before studying it?- YES! Has the traffic problem been solved?- NOO! Is Greenstein rushing?- YES! Is Greensteins letting the community participate- NOO! Is the Master Plan complete?-NO! Is he waiting?-NOO!
Lisa Katz- come out come out wherever you are

By Fed up on 03/31/2014 at 12:52 pm

Greenstein’s response to this will probbaly be another letter complaining about anonymous comments.

By you can run but you can on 03/31/2014 at 1:26 pm

Given that we pay high taxes what is so wrong with increasing the tax base.  If you are bothered about retail at CC don’t shop there and they will go the same way as our last supermarket.

By taxpayer on 03/31/2014 at 1:26 pm

Dictator Rob,

We need a grocery in downtown Chappaqua, not at CC .  We do not need a third hamlet which will ruin downtown Chappaqua.  Do you remember when you ran on and were elected on that promise ???

By remember Rob ? on 03/31/2014 at 1:45 pm

TO “MORE THAN ONE INVESTOR”:

YOU WROTE:  “Keep in mind that while Steve Coyle says HE would not invest in retail at the CC site, he is not the only investor out there.”

There’s only one investor driving all this: Summit Greenfield, who’s already invested (stuck) with a property they will not choose to develop within reason and within the business office zoning.  That’s all the investor necessary to do whatever it takes to break off pieces of this property - shopping center, residential, office, unload the cupola bldg on the town—and get the hell out. Investor Summit Greenfield doesn’t care whether what he makes will work or not, generate revenues for the town or not.

By They've got the one they need- Summit Greenfield on 03/31/2014 at 2:47 pm

I am no fan of Greenstein but I have always believed that a well planned , properly thought out multipurpose facility including retail at CC is a positive for the community.
We need the supermarket , the ancillary retail, and certainly the taxes.
I do not know Mr Coyle. I have no animus towards him but a simple Google search yielded results that indicated that the firm he worked for for several years “decided to no longer be active” in the real estate space in which Mr Coyle and his team invested. They shut it down after 5 years. Seems to me a successful money making real estate professional doesn’t get shut down. I am sure he is very knowledgable but maybe not so on retail at CC. Summit Greenfield has been around for years. We should assume they would not throw good money after bad money if they and their experts didn’t think this will work.

By Rob M on 03/31/2014 at 3:11 pm

@ more than one investor,

If the investor loses then the retail is failing, if the retail fails we lose.

Don’t you get that Mr. more than one investor/Greenstein/Brodsky.

Let’s see the financials.  Oops, forgot there aren’t any, Greenstein doesn’t bother wwith mere details about how viable a development is.

By Oops, you forgot something mtoi on 03/31/2014 at 3:53 pm

Summit Greenfield doesn’t want to be left holding the bag on this- they want other investors to take them out.  if the retail market won’t invest in this- they won’t do it.  If the retail investors will, they will.  They are not going to run stores in the CC development- that’s not what they do.  And no other business is going to sign leases on retail property that won’t work.  That’s CC’s business decision, but the town needs to decide whether to let the retail happen - if its not financially viable it won’t happen no matter what the town says.

By On investors on 03/31/2014 at 4:00 pm

The prior town board issued its finding statement in final draft form on Oct.29,2013. Since we voted in early november, it is unrealistic to say the new town board could stop the old board. The old board had dates of agreement with Summit Greenfield.  Currently the new board is trying to make the project as positive as possible. With planning board input steps
are going in the right direction.  No one is going to get 100% of what they want.

By KNJ on 03/31/2014 at 5:01 pm

Rob Greenstein is ruining hte master plan process. He might have gotten away with ramming through retail at Chapppaqua Crossing but now that he’s joined it to a fancy assed project to (he thinks) transform downtown Chappaqua, he’s taken everything anyone cares about out of the master plan process. He’s making it a sham.

By Sham master plan on 03/31/2014 at 5:47 pm

KNJ - you drank the Kool Aide. Team New Castle are all lawyers. They knew like we knew what the previous town board had done. They ran to reverse it and stop it . They ran to stop what the old board had put in motion. If they couldn’t do that they should have known they couldn’t do that and not represented to the community that they were going to make it right. We are not buying the garbage that Team New Castle inherited a bad situation.

They knew exactly what they were getting into ( or they should have) - they are all lawyers. Ignorance is not an excuse and dishonesty is unforgivable. It’s one or they other. They were either ignorant of the facts or they knew the situation and lied. Ignorance or dishonesty - take your pick.

By Roger on 03/31/2014 at 8:56 pm

Shopping for food is going to be the thing of the past, unless you want to use the activity as an excuse to get out of the house, leave work early, or somehow control the process. Pea Pods from Shop Rite will deliver whatever you want to your home. You can even scan the BAR CODES of the items you are running out of, and when you have a few bags of shopping completed, you upload the info to the store and Wa La….it comes to your front door and into your kitchen. The point is, if we are moving forward with CC just because of Fresh Market or Whole Foods, this is very poor planning. Unfortunately, it seems that the United States will be involved in conflicts around the World for some time to come, and I feel that a better use of the site would be for our injured Moms, Dads, Sons, and Daughters, who are returning. Would it not be nice to somehow get the Federal Government involved in make a private Citizen (Charney) financially whole, by allowing him to partner up with the ARMED FORCES of America, and lets build them a rehabilitation campus that will also serve the sport needs of all the local children. Leave the supermarkets and stores to where they are and bring in a concept that will not struggle to support the square footage that they occupy, unless of course we are going to provide CC with very cheap property taxes and future reductions. It’s not too late to take care of our brave men and women. This is what Chappaqua should become known for. Also, even UPS is considering getting in on the grocery delivery business. How about making it WALL STREET NORTH and place an exchange floor at CC. Anything else but what is being proposed.

By Brown truck on 04/01/2014 at 1:43 pm

The current town board has inherited the horrendous disasters created by the previous town boards. Those of you who do not like what is transpiring with the current town board can find alternate candidates for the next election. However, it is way early to engage in your smear campaign against the current town board which you started the day the current town board took office. I will make a judgment regarding the abilities of the current town board a year and a half from now.

By You are a bunch of complainers on 04/01/2014 at 2:40 pm

To you are a bunch of complainers,  this group lied to us.  How do you explain that? We voted for them.  We thought they would change the status quo.  They were just words.  We are only stating what we are experiencing.  We have a right to “complain”.  No one is questioning their abilities.  We are questioning their integrity.  The dissatisfaction started not the day they took office.  It started when they started going against what they ran on!!!

By you are off the mark on 04/01/2014 at 9:30 pm

To You are a bunch—

You will wait a year and a half and let them do whatever they want?  By then it will be too late.  Don’t you get it, you are being sold down the river?

If what they are doing Is good for the town, they would not have sworn to do exactly the opposite before the election.  Self interest rules the roost here.

By Wake up! on 04/01/2014 at 11:29 pm

How did the “smear campaign” begin the day they were elected. They were elected “by a wide margin.”  Sorry. Not buying it. They have alienated many of their supporters. People are complaining for good reason. And I am sorry that voters didn’t listen to people’s concerns before the election.. Greenstein and his minions had no problem with their barrage of nasty, visicious and false anonymous comments then. Turns out the naysayers were spot on. Too bad and how sad.

By EW on 04/02/2014 at 7:53 am

I agree with Mr. Coyle’s final statement : our town “needs to question what the desirablity of dense urban style, mid-rise product would be in Chappqua.”

Also, I feel that he made another fair point that it is strange that Summit will be involved in retail development in not just CC, but also in the town hall parcel if that swap takes place. Do we really want them to be even more influential in the overall development for New Castle? Don’t swap away the town hall parcel without considering other options for that space. I have heard residents float ideas for town hall such as moving the art center there, adding a community garden, and even more parking for the library and ball fields.  It seems prudent to gather ideas before we let a developer tell us what our town needs.

By Plan first on 04/02/2014 at 1:22 pm

The “former” town hall should be for municipal use. If we must sell something, get rid of that poor excuse of a rec center. Better still, make it the back door to the rear parking area and have some stores have a ‘new’ front in the back.

Yes there must be much thought.

Summit Greenfield will not make the move to the cupola contingent upon it getting the down town property. It will be happy just to get on with CC.

Make a condo of the cupola building. Take it by eminent domain if we must. Cripes, it is devalued at this point in time, isn’t it?

The former town hall site is more valuable than money to us residents, in terms of its usefulness. But that being said, for pete’s sake, its in Pleasantville!!!!!!

By yes some planning on 04/03/2014 at 9:56 pm


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