Open Letter to TB members: New Castle doesn’t deserve “good”—it deserves “great”

Applicants for train station lease gravely disappointed in the process and final decision
Monday, May 19, 2014
by Peter and Erin Chase

Dear Mr. Greenstein & Town Board:

Our family moved to Chappaqua because we fell in love with the small town feel and sense of a strong community.  We immediately knew we wanted to open a small restaurant and be a part of this community.  For almost a year we have been working with a local broker trying to find a space to lease.  In February we were made aware, by our broker, that the train station was possibly available, as negotiations were breaking down on the lease.

We quickly put together a proposal and presented it to the board along with Carla Gambescia on March 11, 2014 .  The following week we attended the other two presentations from Leslie Lampert and Gerry Petraglia.  All presentations were done prior to the RFP being issued and on March 20th we were given the RFP with a deadline to submit it by March 28th.  We then waited to hear. 

After waiting two weeks we reached out to Mr. Brodsky and were informed that indeed the town had made a decision, but due to negotiations he was not at liberty to tell us who was chosen.  Yesterday, we were made aware of the fact that Leslie Lampert was chosen.  We spoke to Mr. Brodsky today and he did confirm that they were negotiating a lease with her as “she is a known quantity and no one knows who Erin and Peter Chase are.”  If this is the test for new businesses coming into our town, we will have a difficult time attracting new and unique businesses.  After all, people come to our town to experience something new and different, not something they already know.

So, to answer the question of who we are, we have been in the hospitality industry since 1989, just the hospitality industry – it’s what we do.  We have been involved in creating, opening and operating more than 40 restaurants and bars in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, Atlantic City, London, and Montreal.  We both attended Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.  We are currently re-concepting the entire public space of two hotels, and operate in food and beverage in 5 hotels internationally.  Oh, and we just happen to live here in Chappaqua.  Most of this can be found out quite easily by watching our presentation or just taking a few minutes to look at our website. 

Businesses have been closing downtown, one being a restaurant.  One complaint we keep hearing over and over again is that the town is having a difficult time drawing non-residents to its downtown core.  Leslie’s Ladle of Love and Café of Love are just a 10 minute drive away from the train station. How do we expect this to draw people to our town? The original is offered one town over, and the parking is easier. How is this helping our town? 

Watching Leslie’s presentation to the board is even further proof that what she will be offering is not unique.  She mentions that she will close at 8pm.  Shouldn’t we expect our restaurants be open a little later? Our town is becoming a ghost town at night, it needs energy. Robert Greenstein to Leslie “What is the name of the place going to be?” Leslie’s response “I don’t know.” Robert Greenstein to Leslie “I like the idea of Chappaqua having something original.”  We agree with you Mr. Greenstein, Chappaqua needs something original. Do we really need another place that offers soup and ice cream that is in direct competition with our existing small businesses? Our town needs a unique offering, and it doesn’t deserve good, it deserves great. 

We were committed to investing several hundreds of thousand dollars into the train station and as per Leslie’s presentation she “will do nothing to the station” as she likes to “drive the car before I buy it” – does our town really need someone to test out the train station or would we prefer someone with a long term committed investment?  Furthermore, we were prepared to pay market rent, significantly greater than the prior RFP.

As residents we are gravely disappointed in this entire process and the final decision that was made.  We do not think this will help our town grow.  The train station is the epicenter of our town and should have a unique offering to help draw more people.  In our opinion, the exact opposite decision was made.

Sincerely,

Peter and Erin Chase
____________________________

Editor’s Note: As of this afternoon, according to the Town Board’s counsel, Nick Ward-Willis, the town is still negotiating with the entity that was chosen to operate a business at the Chappaqua Train Station.


Comments(62):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

One of the very biggest problems that the Town of New Castle has, is the ability to attract new and different kinds of businesses. This has been a huge problem that has caused property owners to lose their property, and not be nimble enough to secure a tenant. These issues have been around prior to this administration and it sounds like nothing has changed as of yet. So the question becomes what can the Town of New Castle do to help the landlords of the area attract different kinds of businesses, and once they become interested, what can we allow as a community to quickly secure the deal. We need to bring commercial value back to the commercial spaces that already exist i.e. empty store fronts by having a town that moves to approve. The worse that our Town Hall can do is approve a business that we would all complain about and not patronize - then it goes out of business anyway. Our commercial value is fleeting and we need to stop this financial erosion. I urge many in the community to pay attention, because it is this very issue that puts presure on our Town budgets via reduced revenue. This is such an important issue.

By Where do I start? on 05/19/2014 at 11:21 pm

Commercial landlords need no help which, in the end, increases their net worth at homeowner-taxpayer expense. Yes, there should be a fast track for new business to open. If a new enterprise doesn’t work, it will close.

Simply create a B. I. D. with the power to enhance facades and promote commerce as a discreet tax collecting entity which does not impact homeowners. What is wrong with the idea that businesses tax themselves, at their option, to fund efforts that benefit themselves only?

By starting gate on 05/20/2014 at 1:42 am

We elected something different. It’s a new set of pals getting sweetheart deals.

By Different board, same story on 05/20/2014 at 6:18 am

Just another example of this town board doing what they want with no regard for the good of the town or the wishes of the residents. These are the people that YOU elected. Now we all suffer the consequences.

By Long Time Resident on 05/20/2014 at 6:43 am

The inexperience of Team New Castle has never been more evident.  And if that weren’t enough, they just plow ahead like bulls in a china shop.

1) They called the space the “crown jewel” of Chappaqua.  Huh?  You’re going to shoehorn a restaurant into an ancient ticket office that will have communters going in and out to use the restrooms (as part of the agreement).  And parking during the week will be nearly impossible.

2) Brodsky admitted the poor communication between him and Carla, and also the lack of communication between him and Greenstein.  These guys are lawyers?  And they can’t communicate effectively?  Is it so hard to pick up a phone?

3) The small RFP window really looked bad.

4) Which board members made the decision?  Or a better question, which ones were excluded (shouldn’t be too hard to guess that one).

I have never been to Ladles, so I can’t judge them one way or the other.  I did look at their menu online and it seems that a small soup will run you about 8 bucks.

By No soup for me on 05/20/2014 at 6:57 am

What about the former Gail Patrick space? It already has a kitchen.

By Lea Barth on 05/20/2014 at 7:21 am

I couldn’t agree with this letter more.  I hope the board will reconsider.  The idea of a place to meet a friend or spouse after the train for a drink and a bite to eat in a higher end space would have been phenomenal.  Ladle of Love is a better fit for the Gail Patrick space.

By Michael Higgins on 05/20/2014 at 7:51 am

We’ll want to see the details of the contract and the details of the proposals to understand what’s gone on here. This new town bd has spent almost another half year on this when we could have had something up and running by now.

Not too business-smart to pick based on Ladles being a “known quantity”. Heating up soup here at the train station is a pretty safe bet I guess.

By Not so brilliant on 05/20/2014 at 7:56 am

As a resident of Chappaqua for under one year I have watched and waited for something new and different to come into the beautiful space of the train station. I am dissapointed to hear that an option similar to others close by will fill the space. While there are some great options already in town variety keeps people interested and now I continue to feel compelled to go out at night elsewhere. Additionally as a new resident I have been taken aback by the response and reactions of the community and board around this issue, it is upsetting that a decision would be based on what is comfortable and known instead of an overall business plan.

By New to Chappaqua on 05/20/2014 at 8:28 am

If the stated goal is to make Chappaqua a “destination”, exactly how is that accomplished by having a new restaurant that already exists in the next town over?

By logic takes a holiday on 05/20/2014 at 8:55 am

I do not think there is anything “small” about a business that has opened 40 stores throughout the US and overseas.  I do not have anything against a couple with such an extensive resume, other than trying to represent themselves as a member of the “mom and pop store” club.

Despite all the rhetoric to the contrary the powers that be in Chappaqua do not want commercial development along the lines of Armonk, Katonah and Pleasantville.  They want a sleepy village, not a town. The only major commercial development that the town planners facilitate are those that speak with the unique eloquence that only emerges from the barrel of a major lawsuit.

By Mike R. on 05/20/2014 at 9:36 am

What a complete mess this has become.  Something could have been open by now had the board proceeded fairly with Via.  Now the Chases feel poorly treated too and Ladle is stepping into a hornets nest.  I am sure the video presentation cost the Chases something to put together and now they are told they are eliminated because they are not “known”?  Via also must have costs from planning to take over the site that are now down the drain.  It took over the morning coffee service last year on short notice and that was important to the town but it has been treated so poorly throughout this year by the current board.  What has this all been about?  To get someone from Mt. Kisco to open up take out with tables?  That’s the big development?  Seems like a lot of fuss with a lot of side damage and very little up side.

By Jackie on 05/20/2014 at 11:18 am

I guess we now see the full process revealed.  Via Vanti original RFP win was voided due to bathroom hours (really!).  Brodsky found Lampert and got the Chases into the process to try to make it look legit.  The RFP was open for a whopping five days and Lampert was picked.  The Chases feel the fix was in.  What a surprise?  I wonder how Via Vanti feels?  The bottom line is we lost another six months so far and all we’ll get is expensive, warmed up soup with no evening service.  It also remains to be seen what the lease with Lampert reveals versus the other two proposals.  After all, does it really take seven weeks (since March 28) to sign a lease?  Perhaps Brodsky’s original “understanding” with Lampert has changed.  Let’s make sure that Lampert pays a price (rent plus value of capital improvements) that truly exceeds the other two proposals.

By Jonathan S. on 05/20/2014 at 12:50 pm

In all due respect, the Chases made a cookie cutter presentation.  It was all stock photos.  Their presentation was cold.

By A little tender Love on 05/20/2014 at 3:40 pm

So disappointing. When I watched the Chase’s presentation online, I thought: wow—this board really knows how to take it up a notch. It’s about time that we get something in town that is Greenwich worthy, something original and unlike other places in town. A place that would stay open at night? Fantastic. A place run by some folks with a sense of design? Finally. So disappointing to hear that Ladle of Love is coming in. While it may have great food, why would it become a destination when it already exists 10 minutes away?

To the Chases: PLEASE consider bringing your concept into the Gail Patrick’s space or somewhere else in town. We’d love to visit.

By Anonymous on 05/20/2014 at 4:14 pm

“She is a known quantity and no one knows who Erin and Peter Chase are.”

Really?  Team New Castle was not a “known quantity” at election time, yet people voted you in, remember?

I guess then McDonalds is likely to come to Chappaqua Crossing as everyone knows who they are, right?

By how soon they forget on 05/20/2014 at 4:17 pm

Chases - Loved your concept and think it would be a great addition to Chappaqua. Please consider either the Gail Patrick space, or - even better - work with the town to use the old firehouse on Senter Street across from the Rec Center.

By To the Chases on 05/20/2014 at 5:46 pm

Sadly, I find the upset and frustration the Chases convey in this letter not the least bit surprising after how they treated Ms. Gambescia.  I voted for this board but I am tremendously disappointed by many steps they have taken.

By AML on 05/20/2014 at 7:41 pm

The title of this article sums it up.  Our lackluster town desperately needs revitalizing.  It needs something with Wow factor; something that will breathe new life into our town.  Locating this ‘destination’ at the beautiful, historic station would be a powerful way of exclaiming “Welcome to Chappaqua”.  With all due respect, a soup establishment does not fit the bill in this regard.  Even more worrisome is Brodsky’s explanation of the Board’s decision process.  How will real progress and change, which is what this
Town desperately needs, ever occur?

By We want Great on 05/20/2014 at 10:36 pm

I am utterly appalled that one of our elected officials (Adam Brodsky) was so ignorant and condescending toward the Chases saying “she (meaning Lampert) is a known quantity and no one knows who Erin and Peter Chase are” .  This feels like amateur hour and embarrasses the town.

I hope all the proposals and final lease are made public immediately.  There has been no transparency with this beginning with the canard of the bathrooms with Via and now what has proved to NOT be, to quote Lisa Katz, “a fair and open process”

By Stephanie S. on 05/21/2014 at 12:19 am

The train station is in a state of slow speed chaos every evening from 5-8 during the week. The Chappaqua station has more trains and more commuters than Mt Kisco. How could anyone expect to run a restaurant in this tiny space? And more importantly, WHERE would people park?  This space could easily hold a “pop up” store or restaurant on the weekends, but it is best left to commuters M-F.

For those of you unfamiliar with the pop up concept, it is being used with great success in Brooklyn and other parts of Westchester. Its a great way that small businesses can help chronically vacant downtown real estate.

By location, location, location on 05/21/2014 at 8:57 am

Last night the ladle of love owner was being interviewed in the hallway outside the chappaqua crossing meeting room. She said a lot about her plans. It sounds like this is primarily take out food for commuters. I thought this was all about creating a draw for the downtown.  Was not the goal to help give it some much needed energy?  This is take out with some tables from what I heard. I expected much more than that. The board made such a big deal about this being something special and even ladle of love somewhat tweaked is not something special. My husband is not paying those prices for soup even if the soup is good and convenient. What a disappointment.

By Overheard and disappointed on 05/21/2014 at 10:27 am

This is another lesson of no transparency. On Monday the town attorney says the lease is still being negotiated. Amazingly the very next day a revised agenda is posted showing the lease is being voted on that night.  Not very transparent.  Can’t wait to see the recording of the work session.  I am sure ithere is a new cover story.  There is always one story or another being spun but truth is lacking.  Not very transparent either.

By Resident on 05/21/2014 at 11:29 am

Chappaqua is very different from Brooklyn - they have more density and a much different demographic. Pop up shops would find it hard to stay in business if only open on weekends. Places open 7 days a week here are having a hard time staying in business.  Because of 3 hours in the morning, where the station is busy, we should have a vacant building all day long. Not everyone who lives here commutes to the city everyday. There are a lot of us around all day long that want more interesting options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why do we have to go to another town for this? We need people to eat and shop local!

By This ain't Brooklyn on 05/21/2014 at 11:35 am

What a blown opportunity by the town board. The town board should issue you an apology. Sad that enthusiastic and qualified residents are given this type of treatment. And these are the people overseeing town wide planning and decision making….. Yikes.

By Team New Hassle on 05/21/2014 at 11:46 am

I would like honesty from this board. I am so tired of this type of conduct.

By Joanie on 05/21/2014 at 4:39 pm

supervisor greenstein,

if you don’t like anonymous posts, why did you write the one above that says”  “In all due respect, the Chases made a cookie cutter presentation.  It was all stock photos.  Their presentation was cold.”

more confirmation you don’t walk the walk. 

did you give Lampert have a 6 month try out period?

By Greenstein aka A little tender Love on 05/21/2014 at 8:02 pm

Why is anyone surprised? What happened to bringing night life to Chappaqua? What happened to transparency ? The Board missed the boat on this one.  What an incredible disappointment.  Carla and the Chases would have made this a destination spot.  Is one of your best decisions so far Mr.  Supervisor?  Clearly the Board was not unanimous on this decision.  Please read on the Town’s website the Board’s statement regarding the decision (vote) on this.  Kudos to member(s) who saw through this.  Another disappointment.

By Figures on 05/22/2014 at 6:28 am

Our historic train station will now be known as Love at 10514.  How sad!!!!!!! Where is the integrity? First it was the bathrooms now we get Love at 10514.  Here is the definition for our board who seem to have never learned it or have forgotten it.  Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

By Meg on 05/22/2014 at 10:24 am

Can’t you Team New Castle guys get your stories straight?  In Patch, Greenstein said, “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.”

Greenstein said at Candidates’ Night:

“I plan to hire another administrator with a strong background in planning and a communications director, someone who will help me communicate with residents, which is something which is sorely lacking right now.” 

How’s that working out?  Perhaps you should learn to communicate with each other first?!

By ugh on 05/22/2014 at 12:37 pm

Via commits the sin of asking about bathroom access during the dinner hours and the town uses that to cut it out of the lease and to bad mouth the owner.  These conversations did not cost the town anything and the decision to cut Via out happened in a matter of days Ladle of Love negotiates for well more than a month and that appears will cost the town in excess of $10,000 in legal fees. The terms stated in the meeting are at least somewhat different than what was in the RFP. The rent is nothing like what Brodsky seemed to think it should get.  The concept is also nothing like what the board indicated it was seeking, a destination dining draw.  Yet this is all fine.  Go figure. Whatever way they spin it, the goal was to get rid of Via. Check that off.  Great job.  What is in its place is sadly only glorified take out.

By Resident on 05/22/2014 at 2:02 pm

Why do you think that post is from rob?

By To a little tender on 05/22/2014 at 2:04 pm

I don’t think this supervisor is less honest than the last but open and transparent he is not. I voted for both Carpenter and Greenstein. She ended up tying her wagon to a lot of nefarioua forces, Conifet to which she remains married, is an obvious one (she needs that job at land trust doesn’t she).  But Greenstein and Brodsky pull tricks of their iwn routinely. With the train station they clearly decided in late January or early February to get rid of Via Vanti through the pretext of the supposed breach over bathroom access. Then there was a sequence of questionable steps and a completely concocted RFP process. Not one single entity came forward in response to that no matter how many times Rob, Lisa or Adam says otherwise.  They lied also about Ladle of Love and the Chases saying the town was contacted by them out of the blue. Not true. The town contacted brokers and then got L of L and the fourth presenter who dropped out by making calls and talking to peope to deliberately get others. There is more including slipping the vote into the agenda at the last hour and having its attorney saying negotiations were still ongoing the day before even though it was alteady on facebook as being a done deal. That was the truth All of this is trying to escape as much scrutiny as possible. This is all far from fair and certainly not transparent. It harms our reputation and our community.

By Anonymous on 05/22/2014 at 8:45 pm

rob, because those of us who know the way u behave know it’s your post. duh.

By Greenstein aka A little tender Love aka To a littl on 05/22/2014 at 9:36 pm

Adam, what was all that talk a few months ago about getting the highest rent, having a fiduciary duty to do so, having the station as the crown jewel needing to draw people to the downtown, etc.? Another story that makes no sense given the outcome.

By Nonsense on 05/23/2014 at 9:15 am

I have watched 3 of the 4 presentations, can’t find the 4th presentation,  and would like to see all 4 proposals.  When will the town release this?  What are they hiding?  I see Carla posted hers.  Is the town asking Leslie to make a proposal now - had she even completed the RFP?  If the lease is signed show us what was proposed by all.

By Show us all proposals on 05/23/2014 at 9:16 am

Ladle of Love is meh. Expensive meh.

By Meh on 05/23/2014 at 9:29 am

From what the editor here has said before there were only 3 propsals recordef due to a problem with the 4th. That wad the one that dropped out befote submitting a written response to the rfp. The other 3 submitted written proposals. This includes leslie. The editor asked several times about the rfps and the response was that until the tenant was announced the rfps would not be released. Editor do you have any update on the rfps now that leslie is the tenant?

Editor’s Note: The town put the documents up today—the three proposals and the contract—here: http://www.mynewcastle.org/index.php/chappaqua-news/latest-news/842-train-station-rfp-responses-lease-license-agreement

By Res on 05/23/2014 at 11:44 am

Currently at Cafe La Track only fully pre-packaged foods can be sold.  If they tried to even make toast in the space they would have to upgrade the kitchen based on the Department of Health requirements for food service, which will be more than just painting the kitchen.  Why will people come for dinner here to have food that was cooked hours ago and wrapped in plastic wrap?  Also, don’t think you can have a wine shop liquor license if you have a restaurant liquor license.  Didn’t Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich just get in trouble for that one?  Maybe the town should have looked into things a little bit more?
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20140325/HOSPITALITY_TOURISM/140329919/eataly-wine-store-to-close-in-liquor-license-dispute

By really??? on 05/23/2014 at 8:04 pm

Holy cow.  I just looked at the three proposals and it is clear which ones were thoughtfully prepared and which one had it in the bag.  Really shameful.  I voted for the new board thinking things would be handled very differently than what’s happening. I’ll say it again:  really shameful.

By Ladles Phoned it in on 05/23/2014 at 8:32 pm

Editor, thank you kindly for the link to the RFP’s.  Very interesting information.  Having read through them all, kudos to Via and the Chase’s for their substantial detail.  A few things I noted.  Chases were the highest proposed rent at almost $3,500, next Via at $3,000 and lowest Love, $2,500 (really no love with that figure).  Robust offering by Via and Chase’s including wine and beer, versus SUV delivery to “steam table” baggage room by Love, yum.  RFP pages, Chases at 35 pages, Via at 28 pages and Love at 1.5 pages.  Living and paying rent in Chappaqua, chase’s yes, Via yes, Love, no.  Is it me or are we really not feeling the love?  How was Love chosen?  Obviously someone is feeling the love?

By NoLove on 05/24/2014 at 6:40 am

Well you elected them ,now you have to put up with the sweet deals, too bad ,it seems
To me that Mr. And Mrs Chase were the right people for the buss. At the train station,
But there you are another Sweet Deal and another wise buss. Decision.

By Retiree on 05/24/2014 at 9:14 am

No wonder we go to NYC to eat an interesting meal!
Chappaqua is missing out on income and a place for residents to congregate in a social way in town. After looking at the proposals of the three contenders I must assume that something is amiss. Why would our elected officials go with the lowest bid, no improvements, a slap-dash proposal from Love with all the standard food buzzwords (Harneys tea, farm-to-to-table, etc). I do not blame the Chases for using some stock photos, they have spent time and money on their proposal already. Love has written 1.5 pages that echo the mediocrity of their Mt. Kisco space.
By the way…we are looking at a restaurant….did anyone taste any of the proposed food? Menus are just menus! People will come if the food is very good if not why bother.

By Long time resident on 05/24/2014 at 9:17 am

So Chappaqua Station and Via Vanti put together thoughtful responses to the RFP, complete with their visions for the space and how it will fit into our community, while Love at 10514 puts together a meager 2-page proposal and they win the space?  As someone who doesn’t follow this stuff closely, something just doesn’t seem to add up here.  If Robert Greenstein truly likes “the idea of Chappaqua having something original” then why pick the least original of the three?

By Ben Kartzman on 05/24/2014 at 9:37 am

I’m waiting for this board to get something right. The only thing I can think of is the Take It Or Leave It shed, though that was only after the community called out the supervisor for his plans to close it.  Seems like left to their own, this board may even be worse than the last one. Didn’t think that was possible.

By Waiting on 05/24/2014 at 10:41 am

What happened with the train station lease makes no sense, not from a financial perspective, not from the perspective of what this community needs, not from a good business relations perspective and not from a ethical perspective. As others have pointed out, the two resident presenters who pay heavy taxes here if they own their homes and who put together complex written proposals as well as thoughtful in person ones inexplicably were eliminated.  There propsals were far closer to what the board said it wanted, over and over, for the “crown jewel” which was a destination dining experience that would bring people to downtown.  I say inexplicable because suddenly the board has completely changed course and selected commuer oriented service that is basically take out with no evening draw of any sort. Also Via offered the town something in addition to a more complex food selection. It offered the free services of its owner to work on a branding campaign with the name CHAPPAQUALiITY and to work with the Chamber as well as others. This could generate money for our town and our schools as well as up the profile and unite the community in ways that extend far beyond the train station.  The Chases offered a sophisticated selection of foods and decor   That too would have been unique for our town. Instead what we have is quite different from what the town envisioned. One has to wonder why.  Both other presenters would have upgraded the station in ways the town would own, electrical, etc. but not have to pay for. Those are valuable. No such improvements will be made with Ladle. All a loss in my opinion.

By RCR on 05/24/2014 at 10:42 am

It doesn’t make sense.

Brodsky initally says at a board meeting the goal is to maximize the rent.

He then says afterwards they chose a “known quantity”

Greenstein says the goal was to minimize renovations.

Katz, as usual, says nothing and follows along with Greenstein and Brodsky. 

I guess this is a sneak preview as to what to expect for the rezoning at CC - a predetermined outcome with all 3 of them voting the same way regardless of what makes sense.

By Common sense takes a holiday on 05/24/2014 at 10:54 am

the minimize renovations story is brand new. Greenstein bef wantedcsomething as close to full service as possible

By Anon on 05/24/2014 at 9:11 pm

Releasing the proposals right before the holiday weekend is the way to go if you want to minimize people noticing the strangeness of something. The government loves Fridays on holiday weekends for distributing possibly controversial information. Our little TB is following suit.

By Great job on 05/25/2014 at 10:46 am

Well, I’m not surprised at all that the administration has presented non-welcoming, aloof and arrogant behavior. When campaigning, I often found all members of “Town New Castle” to be self serving, dismissive, pretensous, rude and disingenuous.  Not once over the course of hearing them speak did I ever get the impression that their interests were anything other than selfish and thinly veiled narcissism. Why would anyone expect a stance other than the status quo of elitist cronyism? In order for change to occur in this town, people need to embrace something fresh and new and not a retread of tried and safe. Nail salons and real estate offices do not make a town unique and special. Over priced delicatessens and hardware stores do not evoke charm and character.  Finally, placing a giant drug store at the entrance of our downtown does not exactly send the message of creative problem solving nor civic pride!

By Not surprised on 05/25/2014 at 11:25 am

This is an important though still modest in scope decision. Doesn’t this board see that the non sensical nature of the final decision in light of everything that preceded it calls into question the integrity of the process and of the board itself?  Sweetheart deal perhaps? Or was Adam just too sensitive to admit that his actions a few months ago were misguided?  Does our board know what it is doing?  The rent is no where near what the board thought the site was worth.  These are just a few possibilities/questions coming out of this situation.  There are far larger decisions looming. If this relatively contained one can be so askew, what does that mean for CC?

By Anonymous on 05/25/2014 at 1:46 pm

Does this mean that we will not have another restaurant serving dinner in town ?

By dinner service ? on 05/25/2014 at 2:56 pm

Kudos to Jason for his vote.  Once again Elise shows herself to be unworthy of her office and unresponsive to her constituents.

There were literally hundreds of residents eagerly anticipating Via Vanti coming to the train station.  We were looking forward to the different, creative offerings Carla was proposing.  We do not need another glorified soup take out place geared towards commenters .  We have plenty of takeout.  We need a restaurant .

This was a stupid choice and another missed opportunity.  Whose idea was it to give Lampert a ten year lease ?  That is but one question that needs answering.

This is a great deal for Lampert, but a lousy one for the town.

By Kudos to Jason on 05/25/2014 at 5:04 pm

Just read the proposals and I am bitterly disappointed at the outcome. The Chase proposal would have brought a unique offering that would have kept us in town when dining out.

By how does this happen? on 05/26/2014 at 8:03 am

Adam,

I had many reservations about you, but when you were elected I kept an open mind.  I heard you say that what you were interested in doing was what was best for the community.  You seemed sincere and I am an optimist by nature.  I believed what I heard you say.

This selection which you were in charge of does not do you credit.  Whatever the reasons you were turned off to Carla, you should not have allowed them to interfere with your judgement.  Your disdain for her was palpable at the TB meeting. 

I had hoped that your real estate experience would serve the town.  I was wrong.  This decision was not only mean spirited, but inept.  It is the wrong thing for the town, but a gold mine for Leslie’s already existing satellite enterprise.  Ten years ?  Why ?

That Elise supported this poor decision after having been on the previous board that unconsciously dragged out Carla is simply disgraceful, but we already know that Elise is not about making best case decisions for the town.

By Adam ? on 05/26/2014 at 12:34 pm

If anybody feels really strongly, there is the opportunity for a referendum.  I don’t know the process but it probably needs to be started right away,

By Referendum on 05/26/2014 at 5:59 pm

Referendum x2

By Referendum 2 on 05/26/2014 at 10:18 pm

Referendum x3

By Referendum 3 on 05/27/2014 at 8:52 am

Funny that just last week a group of us were saying that we had all just had a disappointing meal at the Ladle of Love, a place that used to be so good.  The consensus was that perhaps she had spread herself too thin and that she had too many restaurants to worry about. So, now she has one more? Hope it works out.

By One too many on 05/28/2014 at 7:54 am

I vote for a referendum!  The Chases’ presentation was terrific.  If their restaurant expertise is anything like their marketing skills, I’m all in!  We need something charming and different.  Not only is this exciting but it will draw a new customer to the farmers’ market and the town in general.  We need to look at other towns such as Armonk that have reinvented themselves and made their community proud.

By Liza Carter on 05/28/2014 at 8:04 am

I just read though the three proposals , having watched the video presentations last night.  http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/new_ladles_leslie_lampert_awarded_train_station_lease_for_love_at_10514

How is it possible that the board selected Lesley’s concept when she answered “I do not know” to some of the simplest questions posed by the board?  Furthermore, how is it possible to select Lesley’s concept over the other two presenters given the 1.3 page RFP?

By Ughhh on 05/28/2014 at 8:11 am

Did I read correctly?  They’re going to close at 8PM?  What kind of a restaurant closes at 8PM?  That’s when I go out to eat.  Well.  count me out.  Le Jardin du Roi has my business and will continue to have it ad infinitum.

By Nora Mackenzie on 05/30/2014 at 8:15 pm


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