Louis Capelli Foresees No New Development for Years; Building and Doing “No Longer Important to Me”

Written By: Robert Cox

In an interview yesterday on White Plains Week, a citizen media webcast hosted by White Plains Citizen Reporter, Louis R. Capelli said he did not expect any new projects to go forward any time soon and was no longer interested in building new buildings.

“Because of the banking world today, I don’t really think anything is going to be happening for years,” said Capelli. “I mean it’s really going to be years before anything gets built in a greenfield project again. Asked about White Plains, Capelli said “I’ve done my thing…we need to stabilize things”. You can watch the entire interview here.

Here is a brief clip from White Plains Week hosted by John Bailey of White Plains Citizens Net Reporter. There was a sync issue with the original file so apologies for the quality but the audio is fine.

Talking about how his brain aneurism has changed his like, Capelli said “Building, building, building,, doing, doing, doing is no longer important to me”.

All of this might cause New Rochelle residents to wonder why Capelli Enterprises is even asking for a 13th extension for his exclusive deal in New Rochelle let alone why the City staff is recommending another extension, why Mayor Bramson is advocating for it and why the City Council is even seriously considering it.

Clearly there is a wide gulf between what Mr. Capelli believes and what Joseph Apicella has been telling the City Council.


KIAMESHA LAKE — A year after Westchester developer Louis Cappelli stopped construction on what was supposed to be Sullivan County’s biggest project, he’s left a trail of debts and broken promises. Several signs indicate the once-$1 billion racino-resort project at the famed Concord site is hopelessly bogged down with no clear sense of when, if ever, it will recover. Some 19 contractors are owed $18.3 million for steel, architectural plans, engineering, environmental studies and demolition work for Cappelli’s Entertainment City project, according to public records.

Read the entire article here and see if the story sounds familiar: “broken promises”, “unpaid debts”, “significant announcement in about two weeks“, “had an agreement and they didn’t live up to it”, “Cappelli has been successful in gaining tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives”, “Cappelli’s shaky financial standing”, and so forth.


11 thoughts on “Louis Capelli Foresees No New Development for Years; Building and Doing “No Longer Important to Me””

  1. cappelli
    my husband mr g is taking a hiatus from blogging, he reads but will not respond. thought i would on one issue. does anyone out there know whether new rochelle bears any financial liability given that our development agent, NRR or Cappelli Enterprises seems to be folding. My husband tried to get a copy of the agreement between cappelli and the city and has not yet been successful.maybe the city needs to sue Cappelli but stand in line; and he will claim we failed to provide an extension.

    I don’t know how I feel. My husband says it will be next to impossible to develop this site for years to come and the fate of the rest of the Lecount area is at great risk given what he has just said.

    I worry more about this than Forest City who Warren describes as a “den of thieves” Seems the thing to do is to list our property what with a 8.9% tax increase, a sure additional county hit and the ghouls at the school district have to be heard from soon.

    Warren says he is going to buy land next to Galletta in Rockland or whatever county he lives in

    maria jacobson gross

    1. Somers is in Westchester
      Galletta lives in Somers which is upper Westchester County. It is the tax-abated Avalon/Cappelli/Trump vultures with their IDA and City Council tax abatements that drove Galletta from New Rochelle. Galletta’s taxes went up by $30 in Somers while New Rochelle’s average tax increase was $169. Comparing Somers to New Rochelle is like comparing apples to oranges but then again so is comparing New Rochelle to Mamaroneck, Larchmont or Harrison which the administration loves to do. New Rochelle, one of a few communities which keeps an extra 1% of the sales tax it collects, has averaged well over $9 million per year from the sales tax increase. This year the City Manager also used $2 million from the fund balance (rainy day/savings account) to keep the initial proposed budget’s increase under 10%. Many communities don’t use fund balance to artificially balance the budget. Everything considered; an extra $11 million ($2 million from fund balance + $9 million extra 1% sales tax) equates to a 24.4% tax increase. Add that to 5.9% adopted increase and the reality is a 30.3% tax increase.

      This situation is due to the abusive spending of the extra sales tax and fund balance for many years to pay for things like bike paths, instituting new positions like media and public relations specialists, a GreeNR coordinator, a 40% raise for the part-time position of mayor and the like. That’s why from this point forward there should be no projects considered with any abatement. Cappelli has survived a life-changing disaster and has re-prioritized his goals. Capelli stated, building and doing is no longer important to me. This interview must drive home the message to even the most avid supports of development, including Misterg, that a 13th extension is brainless. I suggest letting the current agreement expire which will allow Cappelli to fade into the sunset and remain in the game while permitting the City to entertain other concepts, projects and developers in the coming years. The one thing I believe we can all agree on is that Capelli’s statement that; “I don’t really think anything is going to be happening for years” is accurate!

      Anthony Galletta

      1. Anthony you have taken
        Anthony you have taken Cappelli’s statement “Building and Doing is no longer importatnt to me” without understanding what I think he may mean.
        You offer this guy enough Tax Incentives, Brownfelds, defereals of payments and carte blanche to build with other peoples money he would be happy to fill every inch of vacant land with lousy Architectural Buildings void of profitabiity over the backs of tax payers and stupid politicians.
        It’s no longer important if he has to use money of his own, without Tax Payer subsidy attract tenants desireable to the area and most importantly do it with intergrity and profit. I think this guy lost his magic because his only magic was slight of hand and the ability to convince very stupid Politicians that they needed to hitch their Political Careers to his developments. This was and is a modern day Carney Act. Snake Oil, Used Cars or whatever. Its almost sad that it is not evident to all but I guess it is because now having run out of municipalities to ride in his circus to he has lost interest. Never has one developer tried so many tricks and games and now all that is left is the Tent Stakes from the Traveling Cappelli Circus. I see Bramson standing in the middle of LeCount Square, New Roc Retail, Trump Cappelli holding a Popcorn Bag staring into it looking at a greasy empty Popcorn Bag with a fist full of tickets to the Circus with nothing else.
        Its all surreal he has been duped nothing to show. And sadly as the curtain closes its the TAX PAYER who get the Bill.

      2. pol force
        you are right — as usual people like Anthony Galletta cannot see the forest for the trees. Basic elemental quesitions elude them. Cappelli is a businessman with some significant issues personal and professional and no sense in me getting back into things as i said I wouldn’t, but this might be a wonderful opportunity to force a deal upon him that benefits the city and recoups some of the prior lost ground.

        i spoke for more than an hour to Bob Cox last evening before ending the call as my physician was trying to reach me. Bob, sorry about that, but know how much i enjoyed the conversation albeit we have different takes on some issues.

        I have not taken a position on the granting of the extension except to say, in so many words, that 12 extensions tells us something more than north versus south side and that I do not know if New Roc bears any third party responsbility in the upcoming lawsuit from ADG. I haven’t seen the conract and have no appetite to FOIL a request. There are likely documents and references beyond the contract in any event. What I know is that (1) there were many previous extensions, (2) some council people have suddenly “seen the light” for whatever reason, I don’t what this to turn into a zero sum game (win-lose) if this can be avoided, (3) as pol force suggests, this may not be over by a long shot, (4) the city’s entire strategy for urban renewal — as flawed as their planning and development process and skills might be, might rest on what happens with this small parcel of land, (5) the plans for Main Street are a travesty and we might want to bear in mind that their conditions worsens as LeCount worsens, (6) Strome is problematic — (a) he claims that he has invited citizens to review his budget line by line yet no one has “ever taken him up on it and we have a correspondent in the Letter to the Editor column of the Journal News who states I think correctly, that there are many opporuntiies to reduce spending by a significant amount — net, net this hot blooded city manager is overmatched by the demands and needs of a growing city and I would hate to see a repeat of the pre-Avalon days when all we had was a number of massive holes in the ground.I am not, repeat not advocating for more tax breaks and abatements in the years to come — frankly even a cursory knowledge of urban planning should tell anyone that some accommodations had to be made to push the urban development button, but surely not to the degree it was accomplshed. A proper city manager and staff should have seen to that — New Rochelle was an attractive business opportunity; after all look what Mayor Malloy did in Stamford and our situation was 30 minutes from Broadway more advantageous.

        Bob, had we more time I would have said to you that my training and experience is influenced principally by the Socratic method or my younger days as a Jesuit scholar. This means simply that the exchange of ideas is the most important aspect of growth; not “knowing” for as Scorates as others have said, “I know nothing, but I seek awareness and pursue wisdom thorugh dialogue.” He would describe critics who mislabel what a gadfly or negative forces as being those who “know less than nothing.” The lovely Greek word he used was “hubris” or false pride. So, perhaps you understand why we are kind of like oil and water — you put great faith in the written word and in personal attendance; I put it in the exchange of ideas especially since we might agree that, like Cappelli, most people are overly interested in hubris or “their facts” than they are in exchanging ideas and seeing if these ideas can lead to insight and change.

        Anthony, you remind me of a spurned wife. The City let you down by overtaxing you in a number of ways, and so you grace us from Somers with your presence again. It is sad.

        warren gross

      3. no idea

        Ugh! Is this really necessary?

        I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here but it seems to me that you want to have it both ways regarding tone — you feel free to insult others but act the injured party if they respond in kind. In doing this, you betray yourself and your supposed desire of engaging in a dialog of ideas. You talk of the Socratic method but in practice you place yourself on Mount Olympus and proceed to lecture readers and contributors. You talk of hubris while you display it for all to see. So now you want to turn this thread into a shouting match? Argh! Argh! Argh.

        The future of LeCount Place is not my biggest concern and I am not going to cry myself to sleep at night if the City Council approves another extension of the MOU but I take exception to your comments about Anthony Galletta.

        From what I can see he has taken the time to obtain various documents including legal records, talked to the various parties involved, attended City Council meetings and otherwise done a significant amount of work in helping New Rochelle residents understand the debate in the City Council. This is precisely the sort of contribution that Talk of the Sound was intended to attract and the sort of effort I value above all others.

      4. No comon sense…..
        Warren, you cried that you had to leave blogging because your health wouldn’t permit it. Then your wife posts an opinion and through her you take a shot at me; “Warren says he is going to buy land next to Galletta in Rockland or whatever county he lives”. Now you come out from under the rock which you were hiding and attack me; “Anthony, you remind me of a spurned wife” and you expect me to suck it up? I have news for you, call your doctor NOW! Political force was exchanging ideas when he stated. “Anthony you have taken Cappelli’s statement “Building and Doing is no longer important to me” without understanding what I think he may mean.” He intentionally used the words “think he may mean” because no one except Cappelli knows exactly what was meant. We all come from different backgrounds, religions and life experiences which mold us. Cappelli was referring to his aneurysm and I believe he meant development is not a priority with or without his money. Warren chastised me for criticizing Cappelli and now I can’t give Cappelli a break. I love this exchange but Warren when you state, “as usual people like Anthony Galletta cannot see the forest for the trees” I must respond and whether you can take it or not the gloves are off. People like you (Warren) who drink the Kool-Aid and exchange ideas while developers pick the taxpayers pocket with the administrations blessing are as useful as mammary (edited) on a bull. Yes you and the scholars fiddle while New Rochelle burns. There’s no way to force anything on Cappelli, his hit man Apicella lied to council and basically said take-it-or-leave-it. You don’t need to FOIL the ADG contract because Bob has it on the web. Rather then make numbered suggestions, read the material to see that some if not most of your answers are there.

        You are correct, I am neither a scholar nor do I have a college education but I did graduate from the school of life with honors and I can spot a snake oil salesman a mile away. The problem with you Warren is that while you are educated you have little common sense. Getting burned12 times hasn’t registered yet so you are willing to get burnt the 13th time. You also state, “Frankly even a cursory knowledge of urban planning should tell anyone that some accommodations had to be made to push the urban development button”. That sounds nice coming from a scholar but the reality doesn’t make sense. The scholars said build it and they will come so we gave Home Depot & Costco 10-year accommodations. They didn’t come so the scholars promised New Roc Mall for the sales tax revenue, instead we get the developer bait & switch New Roc City game room with no sales tax and a 15-year accommodation. Next the scholars decide to attract working professionals with disposable income so they build Avalon and we end up with two buildings with 30-year accommodations that pay $0 in school tax while adding 80 school children at a cost to the taxpayer of $1.6 million. Only scholars with extensive knowledge of urban planning could be so stupid. The common, high school education dictates that the first development that takes the biggest risk gets the biggest accommodation while the followers get less. That’s common sense.

        All you do is PONTIFICATE raising questions and now using me as target. If you have the intestinal fortitude go for it because the only thing that is sad is that you surround yourself with like minded scholars who don’t realize that being surrounded by trees means you are in the forest!

        Still hope you take me up on the coffee offer.

        Anthony Galletta

      5. coffee
        sure the coffee is available. Was it Maxwell House? Jesus when are you going to take the gloves off? You must have a hard on for anyone with an education or an opinion. Maybe I should borrow your clipboard and your scary passionate research skills so I can understand what the hell you are really so unfocused on. Think it started as a MOU renewal and try as I might I don’t know how you skated over to Home Depot, Avalon, etc….. For the tenth time; all I said on MOU was perhaps (1) seeing that the guy is on the ropes, maybe some accommodation can be made to get back some of the advantages we gave away years earlier. You keep on arguing over spilled milk. The stuff is done; next step — vote them out if that is possible. If not, I wish this issue was buried 10 amendments or so back, but it wasn’t, Maybe this time.

        So now you talk about wives, health, intestinal fortitude. Love my wife, health is getting there, and as far as intestinal fortitude, test me any damn way you want. I am a little past my prime in all areas, but can still rock and roll, still think, proud of my education, love the City, and don ‘t have a clue where Somers is — now I do,my pal Tommy Serpe confirmed it is where you say it is.

        So, sure coffee is readily available. Take me up on it. And don’t be so damn angry at people who are different than you. If “gloves are off” as you say, go back like a man and check out the blog entries since you reappeared on the scene. You, not me, began this war of words —“pontificate” etc… and worse. We are different people so that is not so bad. I talk my way, you talk your way. I want this City to make it — being 73 I don’t have much longer to enjoy it. You, I am not sure of.

        Sure, lets have a cup or whatever. I am really looking forward to it.

        warren gross

      6. PONTIFICATION Abounds
        Warren, I don’t own a clipboard but once again you pontificate about yourself and your education. You are the angry one who gets his nose bent out of shape when an uneducated man dares to question your “intelligence”. Why don’t you list your education and background so we can all be impressed and bow down to kiss your ring? If the word “PONTIFICATE” is what got you twisted you don’t have the education or intestinal fortitude you think.

        Say what you want about my research but I haven’t seen anyone prove the facts I state inaccurate or false. Because an uneducated man had the Gaul to question you is the reason you need medical attention. As my friend says before signing off, keep up the good work Warren.

        Merry Christmas

        Anthony Galletta

      7. Escalation
        Hi Anthony and Warren,

        Warren wants to sit down and meet you for coffee. You said you are often in the Java Cafe in Avalon I many mornings. Warren, stop by there for a friendly visit.

        Anthony, give Warren a break. I think when a person reaches the age of 73 he deserves a little latitude to speak his mind.

        It is the holiday season, after all. Good will towards men.


      8. It’s a Date 101
        Anyone can speak their mind and that’s what’s great about this site. I will hold my response about age and latitude but both don’t exempt anyone from difference of opinion. I am doing a radio tribute to Joe Candrea on WVOX from 11 am til noon on Monday. I would be happy to meet Warren, you and any other blogger that cares to partake about 12:30 pm at Java Dreams which is located at the base of Avalon 1.

        Hope to see everyone there.

        Anthony Galletta

    2. premise?
      I do not follow this as closely as some but I have yet to hear ANYONE ever argue that the MOU should be renewed because failing to do so will expose the CIty to financial liability. However, there is a rather simple and direct way to resolve this question in your mind; call Chuck Strome or Noam Bramson or your representative on the City Council, ask them about this and let us know what they have to say about it. Until then, let’s set that aside and deal with the facts in evidence.

      NRR and Louis Capelli has now been sued, the building at 5 Anderson has been taken back and Capelli himself has said he does not expect to see ANY greenfield development for years. If the Council fails to act the MOU expires this month.

      To me this is a rather simple issue, the City gets zero benefit from tying itself to a developer that has already said he is not longer interested in “building”, that no one at his company can do what he does and does not anticipate any new projects in the coming years. We get a little bit of benefit if the MOU expires because nothing has changed for Capelli — he has still invested his $17mm, he still owns some of that property and he still has adjacent properties and he can still develop LeCount Place if he wants — but we get the option of entertaining competing offers.

      We have nothing to lose and a little bit to gain in getting what amounts to a free option to negotiate with other potential developers.

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