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
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.
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.