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Common Council unanimously (6-0) clears Cappelli to demolish old Macy's Building now while he awaits approval for Cappelli Center in August.

Council warm to Cappelli's request to build higher apartment buildings -- builder says "higher is better." Figure two 300-unit buildings at approximately 25 stories.

Building to come down in June. EJ Conroy drive to be closed shortly.

Builder Cappelli to post $5MM bond to pay for vest pocket park and parking lot on site if he does not start Cappelli Center.

Legal Seafood coming in as major restaurant; Cappelli close to selecting theater chain.

He agrees to expand community theater give it equal position on same level as movie theater.

By John F. Bailey

CityLine: May 10, 2001 -- City Hall

The Common Council cleared the way for demolition of the old Macy's building as early as mid-June tonight, accepting builder Louis Cappelli's carefully reasoned pitch that it would save time and complete the project faster.

The Council heard Mr. Cappelli make a plea to build just two apartment buildings as part of the Cappelli Center complex instead of three, agreeing to look at to-be-designed Cappelli proposals for two 300-unit buildings of various heights and designs on May 23.

Once again the sartorial Mr. Cappelli, after waiting nearly two hours to present took over the meeting with his presence and obvious enthusiasm for his job. Dressed in tweed black and white check charcoal suit, gray shirt, pink tie, black loafers, he worked the council like a seasoned account executive, eloquently presented three key concepts to the Council and he persuaded them to go along with him on all three.

Eases fears about a second Hole in the Ground presents "Vest Pocket Park and Parking Lot" guarantee.

He began by presenting a rendering of a vestpocket park fallback plan which he would build for the city in case some "disaster" happened to him and he could not build the Cappelli Center. In return for allowing him to begin demolition process on the site at Mamaroneck and Main immediately, Cappelli agreed to post a $5 million bond which the city would draw on in the event he had not started new construction by April 1, 2002.

At that time Cappelli said he would build a tree-festooned park on the Mamaroneck Avenue street side and Main Street. The interior of the site fronting on EJ Conroy Drive would become a surface parking lot. He would retruck back the 24 feet of dirt he estimates having to remove from the site, and pave it over and landscape it into a parking lot, which the city would be allowed to operate and keep the revenues. This was his personal guarantee that the city would not experience "Hole in the Ground II" if they agreed to his request to demolish now before approvals.

Expands Community Theater to 10,000 square allows it to share footing on third floor with movie theater,across the lobby from each other.

Mr. Cappelli won over the hearts of the council with a report on how he has in meetings with the city, decided to expand the community theater. Cappelli said his original plan to include a 5,000 square feet community stage theater, was determined to be too small.

Instead, he will build a theater shell, expanding it to 10,000 square feet, at a cost of $2MM and work with the city to acquire funding to finish the interior of the theater. He also agreed to let it be located across the third level lobby from the commercial theater. (Previously, he had envisioned the community theater on the fourth floor.)

Arouses Council interest in taller apartment buildings. 25 stories a possibility.

Next, Mr. Cappelli presented his case for building higher residential buildings than he originally had planned. He pointed out architectural advantages to higher, thinner profiled buildings as having more "style sense, and sense of place," persuading Councilman Robert Greer to say that the UR-4 Central Business Zoning might be expanded beyond the 230 foot height.

Susan Habel pointed out that the Council could consider allowing higher buildings in the UR-4 Central Business district (where the Cappelli parcel is located) at its June 4 Common Council meeting.

The council agreed to consider taller building concepts from the developer, in which he would show the shadowfalls and views produced by reducing the three apartments to two buildings of taller stature than the 18-story heights originally planned.

The Council expressed interest and enthusiasm in seeing Cappelli renderings of various heights beyond 22 stories as originally presented. Mr. Cappelli, enthusiastically said he'd have such prototype views available for presentation on May 23.

Council says "down she comes."

At the conclusion of the evening, the council voted 6-0 to give Mr. Cappelli the go-ahead for demolition, and agreed to an energetic timetable presented by Susan Habel to take care of the approvals, zoning changes and site plan reviews with August 6 the targeted final approval date.

Housekeeping details: EJ Conroy Drive to close.

The demolition would begin, Cappelli said, with the closing of EJ Conroy drive and the erecting of sidewalk bridges along Martine Avenue. Traffic Commissioner Ted Gammon said he had approved a plan allowing traffic flow that would accomplish access and egress to the Martine Avenue garage.

Then Cappelli said he would proceed with removing asbestos from the roof of the Macy's building. After this is accomplished, Cappelli estimated they would begin tearing Macy's down about June 10-15, and said it would take 3 months to clear the site.

Restaurant committed.

Mr. Cappelli reported high interest in his project on the part of potential tenants because of the residential component. He announced that the restaurant chain, Legal Seafood, had committed to the project and that he had a "handshake" agreement with Target Stores.


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