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Cappelli has "handshake" deal on Main Street & EJ Conroy corner properties.

Acquisition of Citibank, Main Street Bookstore, deli, frustrates Ridgemour & The Meyer Company plan for A & P building.

By John F. Bailey

CityLine: June 8, 2001 -- Channel 71 Studios

Speaking as a guest on "White Plains Week," Friday, Louis Cappelli announced that he has "reached a handshake" with the owners of the Citibank, Main Street Bookstore, and delicatessen on the corner of EJ Conroy Drive and Main Street.

The pending acquisition, Cappelli said gives him control over what is across the street from his planned City Center development. "We need to control that," he says, to insure the success of his center, because he does not want construction from another developer interfering with the ambiance of his site.

Cappelli also indicated that he could see building a hotel and condominiums on the Citbank-bookstore-deli property. If he can complete the deal, this latest coup by Cappelli effectively frustrates the plans of rival developers seeking to build a 30-story tower on the A & P property on Main Street. The Ridgemour Properties and The Meyer Company of Palm Beach has presented a plan to build on that property to the Common Council.

Cappelli was the guest of John Bailey, Jim Benerofe, and Alex Philippidis on "White Plains Week," when he announced the development during the Friday morning video taping of the show, which can be seen in its entirety Tuesday, June 12 at 7 PM on Channel 71, and is repeated Friday, June 15 at 7: 30 PM.

Mr. Cappelli speaks freely on the show on a wide range of issues involving the City Center.

On the ability to rent 600 apartments in the center: He pointed out that his firm has done studies showing that Westchester County is 10,000 units underdeveloped in rental housing, and that White Plains itself is 2,000 to 2,500 rental units underdeveloped, indicating there would be no problem filling the rentals on his site.

"We're all going to be o.k." he said.

On future purchase of the A & P property, or partnering with The Ridgemour Properties and The Meyer Company, Cappelli said "I haven't spoken to them."

On his financing: Cappelli said that he receives his financing from three major banks, CIBC, The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which has financed him to the amount of a half billion dollars in projects over the last eight years. He said he also receives financing from Key Bank and Union State Bank.

On Why he will only build the shell of the community theater: "We have no experience in building a performing arts theater, but we will invest 2.5 million of our own money," to set up the shell of the theater project. Cappelli said that the county and many community groups have expressed interest in providing financing to complete the theater.

On retailers lining up to be in the City Center: Cappelli said "There's been so much interest in the City Center." He reports letters of intent from The Sears Great Indoor Store, Target Stores, National Amusements for 16 movie screens on the fourth floor of the center, Barnes & Noble (which will be located across from City Hall), The Gap, Old Navy, California Pizza Kitchen (planned for the Mamaroneck Avenue street side), The Cheesecake Factory (targeted for the Greenpoint Bank Building), and Legal Seafood, (slated for the corner of Main & Conroy across from City Hall).

On the Common Council call for a study: Cappelli repeated his endorsement of Robert Greer's call for a national urban consultant to study the effect of height on the downtown. "

On the Common Council delaying the approval of the City Center until after the election: Cappelli said "I don't have any indication that the council is acting in a political way. After 4 years of difficult negotiations (with Tishman Speyer), I think they are eager to move ahead. The people are eager. It is appropriate for the Common Council to have a national urban planner to review the plans.

On height in the downtown: Cappelli said he felt his apartment towers needed to be high to "create as much open space as possible in the area between the buildings (on Conroy Drive)." He said anything is possible as far as lower the heights of the buildings, however, he pointed out that you really do not notice high buildings because the street view is always "straight ahead." He pointed out that the AT & T building is actually 40 stories, and no one notices it.

On deliveries to the City Center: Cappelli indicated that deliveries on the Martine Avenue entrance would be completely enclosed and that he was devoting 30,000 square feet to the staging area to avert traffic problems.

The "Super Developer," as host John Bailey characterized him, concluded the interview by saying even if the Council delayed approval until after the election, he was in the project to stay. "In a few weeks I will have $25 million in equity in this project. There's no way I'm gone."

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