Based on several visits to the location over the past few days, Talk of the Sound can confirm that required work to fix or cover broken windows, clean up the foyer at the 5 Anderson entrance, cleaning the retail space at ground level or “grade” as they say in the real estate business, and clearing overgrowth in the side alley has been completed. The primary concerns of the New Rochelle City Council members have not been addressed — making exterior window improvements, plans that were approved by the Municipal Arts Commission last week.
What makes this permit notice especially interesting is that it has been issued to Anderson Development, LLC and not to New Rochelle Revitalization, LLC or some other Capelli Enterprises entity.
A review of City Council meetings in June 2010, December 2009, November 2009 and May 2009, show Council members repeatedly raising the issue of the blighted appearance of the building and Capelli representative Joe Apicella repeatedly giving assurances that Capelli is “ready, willing and able” to make improvements to the building, rent out the retail space to “reactivate” the block.
City Manager Chuck Strome has been a vocal advocate for the Capelli organization at each of these meetings. On December 1st, 2009, Council member Richard St. Paul asked what the Capelli organization was doing about the blight issue at 5 Anderson. Strome answered for Capelli Enterprises, telling the council “work is underway”. More than 8 months later the work has still not been done — work that Apicella has stated will cost about $5,000.
At a November 10, 2009 Council meeting, member Al Tarantino asked about whether there any disputes with property owners within the LeCount MOU area. Apicella said there were “no issues” that Capelli had made “all payments” and that there was “no litigation”. Later in the same meeting, Apicella told the Council of efforts by Capelli to get one property owner in the group to “drop their litigation”. Anderson Development, LLC is in the midst of a lawsuit which directly contradicts Apicella’s claims that the Capelli organization has made “all payments” at 5 Anderson.
Further, Talk of the Sound has obtained a copy of the tax bill for 5 Anderson as of July 29, 2010 The amount owed on the property currently stands at $148,599.10. Hardly what anyone would call “paid up”.
Talk of the Sound has also confirmed that the electric bill and water bill have not been paid and the Con Ed and United Water have been attempting to access the building to shut off service for some time.
As for the notion that the apartments or retail space can be leased in the foreseeable future, this seems unlikely given that over the years the Capelli organization allowed the New Rochelle Fire Department and New Rochelle Police Department to use the facility to practice tactical assaults. Merchants in the area tell Talk of the Sound that much of the interior has been smashed to pieces and most of the plumbing system removed by looters.