New York Times Paints Bleak Picture for New Rochelle Development Plans

Written By: Robert Cox

Diane Marszalek has a sobering account in The New York Times of how the credit crunch has impacted big name developers in our area with a particular focus on New Rochelle.

Marszalek begins:

Less than a year ago, New Rochelle leaders were banking their city’s future on a new wave of development, a multitude of projects designed to restore vibrancy to downtown. The plans included apartment towers with brand names like Trump and a Long Island Sound shoreline with high-end housing and canals for small boats…Today, however, such visions of Westchester’s future do not look as rosy, primarily because of the financial meltdown that, in some cases, has brought the business of construction to a halt, developers and local leaders said.

The spokesman for Capelli calls the situation a “mess” as developers “delay timetables” and “hunker down”. Hardest hit are projects like converting New Roc City into a retail center with Kohl’s and Target as anchor tenets, the LeCount Square project and the Echo Bay Development project. Developers are formally requesting extensions. Kohl’s and Target are nowhere in sight of New Rochelle and Echo Bay Development will not break ground for at least two more years.

Mayor Bramson is quoted in the piece as well:

…in New Rochelle, plans to build a condominium tower on the site of a downtown parking garage were scrapped when the housing market crashed, Mayor Noam Bramson said.

“We are in the midst of a generational effort to revitalize our economy and have made great progress in the last decade,” he said. “We always understand, though, that the pace of progress can quicken or slow based on the overall economic environment, and it is reasonable to expect that the current down cycle will impact us to some degree.”

The article is sure to raise questions at the next City Council meeting both from proponents of New Rochelle Hockey and the Save Our Armory group both of which resisted plans supported by Mayor Bramson:

  • If New Roc development is being pushed back until 2011, why was the hockey rink shut down in 2008?
  • If there is a possibility that Forest City Ratner may not proceed with Echo Bay Development then why not put some sort of plastic sheeting on the roof of the Armory to protect the structure?

What do you think?

15 thoughts on “New York Times Paints Bleak Picture for New Rochelle Development Plans”

  1. I know it realy is not that
    I know it realy is not that right time to complain.because of economics.But i have one word,Hudson park.Has anyone been THERE lately has the cit of new rochelle forgotten this part of town.I apologize two words wildcliff.

  2. New rochelle is just an
    New rochelle is just an overpriced slum filled with drug addicts, alcoholics, and transients–who in their right mind would pay nearly a million dollars to live amid such people? Every plan to redevelop the area has been flawed from the very start, way before Bramson was appointed and then elected to office. New rochelle was being marketed as a ‘ cheaper, smaller version of Manhattan” and Trump and Cappelli’s promotions misled people into believing New rochelle was a town of ” quaint cafes, boutiques and art galleries” with a sort of SOHO/ West Village atmosphere, when, in reality, it is a town than can only offer pizza shops, 99 cent stores, and taco shops. Main street looks more like battered old road in Guadalajara rather than a street in Westchester county, it is overcrowded, dirty, chaotic, and it smells of rotting vegatables, fruit, and fish. Oh, yes, and the countless immigrants just sitting around the store front is very appealling too. Then, there is the CRIME which no one ever talks about–the robberies and thee hold ups which we all know about but rarely is mentioned in the press. No matter how one markets the place, it is a DUMP and it shall not change anytime soon. New Rochelle was one considered an elegant suburban city, but, that was back in the 1920’s. The New New Rochelle is the slum on the sound–dirty, crowded, overpriced, and horribly mismanaged and misrepresented. Do not blame the Mayor, blame the avaricious landlords who just neglected their properties and turned them all into flop houses for recent arrivals to the country.

  3. I suspect the development
    I suspect the development was flawed from the start since it was likely unsuitable, overly-ambitious and not well thought out. One unfortunate consequence of the economic crunch is that the collapse provides cover for our less-than-competent city officials’ failures. Thus they will never be held to account.

  4. we are at cross purposes on
    we are at cross purposes on this dredging up old arguments pro and con and not simply addressing the very issue that has strangled the nation and the world for the past 14 or so months. We cannot and should not lay the economic downtown on Capelli or any developer. What we should be doing is to request or require (depending on who you are) the City to enter active negotiations with all developers — pending or underway and delayed — and working with all decision making resources in the administration, put three basic questions on the table (1) where are we (2) where do we want to be and (3) how are we going to get there. These should be clearly stated, vigorously addressed, all options examined, and a clear and coherent path established for moving on or moving forward. Any Rhetoric or Sophist language should be scrubbed out and clear and concise language substiuted. Actually I used rhetoric and sophist above as examples of what would be unacceptable speech unless everyone at the table knew exactly what they meant. Look them up; they do cover language we get from all parties including our administration.

    Whether Noam runs for Congress does’nt matter at this point. Whether Nita hid or misapply a lot of money on the sound doesn’t matter (although it doesn’t sound right given the recent State Nitrogen finding and report. Really all that matters is energizing the players to ACT and maybe, just maybe, the City can get a better deal out of all of this by exercising a little thinking outside the box.

    Ice Rinks and Armories do matter as they are now back in play. Concerning the former, it is unfortunate that the City couldn’t or wouldn’t leverage certain advantages to get support from the developers to put up an Armory somewhere to provide family entertainment and sport team relief. I weary of the arguments about unavailability of space, etc… if you get out of the office and develop a critical thinking mentality it does exist. The Echo Bay people actually have done very little for this community; a charge in fairness we cannot lay at Cappelli’s doorstep. He has been supportive at the hospital, school distict, and police department to name a few. I cannot think of much coming from the Echo Bay folks. So with the rather quick closing of the Armory, I would say to the Echo Bay folks — now that you need to delay the Environmental Study etc…. we want you to contribute something to the City and that is either a restoration of the Armory or an acceptable substitute.

    The point is we have become a nation as well as a community of critics and naysayers; not of builders and supporters. Critics, as a group, usually have a surprising lack of skill at proposing helpful, creative ideas. Naysayers are often whiners. We have real problems so lets solve them.

    You are right about the Administration pretty much building a Chinese Wall around ideas from anywhere but the inner circle of usual suspects. If you want change there you will have to fight for it community by community. It is not impossible, look at Stump the dog — 10 years old in retirement and he is dragged to the most prestigious dog show in the nation after 5 years of doing little but looking good and breeding pups. The old SOB got it done. If that old dog can do it, so can you and me. Don’t think he ever thought about it one way or the other.

    1. Naysayers v. Builders &
      Naysayers v. Builders & Supporters

      Sometimes critics by not offering helpful, creative ideas are simply sugesting that things are OK the way thay are. OR simply need to be maintained. Davids Island, Don Bosco, Main St. the Armory. Had the city realized its herritage and capatalized on its history there would be less taxes, traffic, and unsightly empty buildings. Growth and developement only helps the corrupt and developers, at the cost of the rest of us.

  5. The Citizens of New Rochelle
    The Citizens of New Rochelle were taken to the cleaners by the Politicians who granted IDA tax abatements on many projects. The mayor bent so far over for Cappelli that his actions abutted and skirted Regulations within NY State IDA operating guidelines. In the end New Rochelle residents will suffer far longer than the Cappelli as he will adapt to the circumstances.

    Trump Cappelli 39 story monster mostly empty out of scale and draining services from the City not adding tax dollars. New Roc not quite what they had in mind lays dormant waiting for a Retail reserection that may take a decade. LeCount a cadre of boarded up property with no future for multiple decades. Echo Bay just plain dead.

    In the end Bramson will be in Washington DC sitting in Nita’s old office and the Citizenry will be left paying for all of this mess.

    1. Nita allocated hundreds of
      Nita allocated hundreds of millions studying LI Sound. What happend to all the money? She never looked at the Echo Bay situation dispite all our efforts. Seems cronies get all the funding.

    2. Again, why do you think
      Again, why do you think Bramsom has a future. For the next few years at least his job is MAYOR of New Rochelle

      1. These people are idiots,
        These people are idiots, Noam Bramson is born and raised in New Rochelle, he lives here, his family lives here. He cares more about New Rochelle than any mayor ever has. He has done more for this city than any other Mayor has or ever will do. He is a great man and we should be blessed if he decides to move on and take on bigger challenges. If he moves along and goes to a higher position that only means great things for the future of New Rochelle. Cox, once again you are outmatched here.

      2. Anon,
        You are commenting on


        You are commenting on this site about 20 times a week. You think you might have noticed that your comments are not actually appearing on the site. I approved this just to be able to alert you to the fact that your comments are not actually appearing on the site.

        You do not have to register to submit a comment but in that case your comment has to be approved manually. If you do want your comments to appear automatically you have to register. If you want to rant about me you can do that. One thing you cannot do is type in all caps because it comes across as SHOUTING and is considered rude.

        Although this is one of your more benign comments and has the benefit of your not SHOUTING your comment it does reflect your apparent ignorance of what a blog is or how this site works.

        The main thing you need to know is that the site is not going anywhere. In case you have not noticed noticed we have had a tremendous growth in the number of visitors to this site and more and more people are getting involved every week.

        Now, if you want to spend your time commenting on all the reasons you believe that this site should not exist or contributors here should not be allowed to express their opinion or why I should rot in hell – or whatever else you care to rant about then be my guest. However, you will find that over time people simply tune you out.

        I would say to you or anyone else who feels that this site is “against” something that you support then you might find it more effective and more productive to write your own posts supporting the Mayor or the School District or any other subject of interest to New Rochelle. All view points are welcome here except one – the view that no one else but you should be allowed to express an opinion.

        I chose this comment to respond to, in particular, because it reflects your lack of understanding of how a blog site like this works. There was a major story in the New York Times. I linked it and wrote about it so that readers could comment on it. Some of them have taken issue with Mayor Bramson. If you disagree with their comment then direct your comment to them.

        I do not have any particular issue with Mayor Bramson. His mom lives down the street, I’ve voted for him and generally find him to be a pretty nice fellow. He is not always the most straightforward person but no one expects a politician to be straightforward so he gets a pass from me on that one – on a personal level anyway.

        It seems to me that ire directed at Mayor Bramson is misdirected anyway. His position is largely ceremonial. He could not personally authorize purchasing a new lamp for his desk at City Hall let alone determine the fate of the City of New Rochelle.

        In either case, I would encourage you to register, write some blog posts championing your own causes and stop wasting your time with “suggestions” that no one but you has a right to express a point of view.

        Welcome to America, buddy.

      3. What Planet Do You Live On
        What Planet Do You Live On ?
        You only need to look around to see whats really going on. There is nothing great, or inspiring here. Just politics as usual. He should move on to make room for someone who can really affect change !

  6. Officials Stuck on Stupid
    Officials Stuck on Stupid

    In 1986 New Rochelle as part of a grandious waterfront plan signed a contract to purchase the abandond Con Ed site. The city misinformed everyone as to the toxic nature of the area. Now 23 years later the area is still toxic. The citizens have lost billions because of the devious charecter of city officials. A 16 year Federal Lawsuit is still pending that might have repaired the damage and allowed developement years ago but local politicians were intent on siding with Con Edison while turning a blind eye to the inocent fisherman and children that were being exposed to Agent Orange like chemicals there. They refused to post one warning sign while clean up workers are required to don toxic suits and resperators. Now they ask forgiveness because of the poor economy. They’re beyond stupid they’re criminal.

    1. The real tragedy is the
      The real tragedy is the future of New Rochelle. Future generations have nothing to look forward to and will suffer because of mistakes made by the city government today.

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