Trump representative suggests interest in Chappaqua Crossing property
Monday, November 1, 2010
by Christine Yeres and Susie Pender
Last week, Hal Goldman, the Trump Organization’s regional vice president for development for the Hudson Valley, appeared before the Bedford Planning Board to report on the Trump Organization’s proposed Seven Springs development on property situated in Bedford, North Castle, Mt. Kisco and New Castle. At the conclusion of the meeting, Goldman spoke to reporters about Chappaqua Crossing.
“The Trump Organization is very enthusiastic about the idea of stepping in should Summit Greenfield fail in their attempt to rezone and develop the property,” Goldman confirmed in a telephone interview Friday morning.
“I had a conversation with Mr. Trump and frankly we think the Summit Greenfield project is appalling,” Goldman said. “In our developments we have respect for context. If Summit Greenfield fails to get approval, the land might be available for less.”
Vision for use of former Reader’s Digest property
Goldman described his vision for the reuse of the former Reader’s Digest property as “a Museum of American Business and Commerce, a new home for the Trump Education Center for Continuing Education, and now, in this terrible economy, for helping with career transitioning. It would preserve one of our historic icons and at the same time give Chappaqua and its high school a benevolent neighbor and not a traffic nightmare.” Goldman added that his group might even coax Reader’s Digest back to its old headquarters. He was aware that Reader’s Digest has nearly completed its move out of Chappaqua Crossing, “but everything bad can be turned into something good,” he said.
“And from the government point of view,” Goldman continued, “it would add a significant tax payer who would not require services in return.”
Official reaction to Goldman’s overtures
As lead agency for the SEQRA process concerning the proposed Chappaqua Crossing development, the New Castle Town Board has neither the obligation to engage in nor is it restricted from dialogue with a developer with an alternative interest in Chappaqua Crossing. Had the Trump Organization approached the town board during the scoping sessions conducted three years ago, this alternative could possibly have been included in the original draft environmental statement for examination.
Goldman has placed several calls to Supervisor Barbara Gerrard and Town Administrator Jerry Faiella to discuss his idea over the last few months.
“So this is what we thought of and Mr. Trump was very enthusiastic about the idea and if there’s some interest on [New Castle’s] part, we’re definitely interested in seeing where this can lead,” explained Goldman.
The one time Goldman spoke with Supervisor Gerrard about his idea, she recalled that her response was: “You must be mistaken. We don’t own the property. Talk to Summit Greenfield.”
Goldman, now a resident of Katonah, lived briefly in Chappaqua, serving for a time on its architectural review board.