Developer Presents Chappaqua Hamlet Revitalization Concept

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Chuck Napoli, front, presents his Chappaqua Hamlet Revitalization Concept plan to the New Castle Planning Board on Tuesday night at the New Castle Town Hall. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Longtime New Castle resident and developer Chuck Napoli has updated his plan to transform the Hamlet of Chappaqua’s downtown experience.

Napoli, who last gave a presentation on his vision to the New Castle Town Board in October, presented new details to the Planning Board on Tuesday night at New Castle Town Hall. He also outlined what next step needs to be taken.

“It will be a park once, shop a lot experience,” said Napoli.

The proposal includes building a retail and residential development with 389 parking spaces on the municipal parking lot behind South Greeley Avenue. That would be an increase of 200 spaces. An athletic field next to Bell Middle School that is owned by the Chappaqua School District would be replaced with a state-of-the-art playing field.

The commercial space would consist of a 16,770-square-foot shopping market, a 7,000-square-foot performance arts theater, 20 to 40 apartments and a European-style marketplace with a total of 31,000 square feet of space. 

“For five centuries, this business structure has proven to work,” said John Ehrlich, who is helping Napoli present the plan. “You center around the market and build from there.”

The concept’s strengths would include an emphasis on foot traffic over automobiles, market-rate housing and making Chappaqua a more dynamic destination.

When asked how much the project would cost, Napoli offered an estimated figure that no one on the Planning Board will soon forget: $40 million.

Napoli eased some concerns by saying the project would be backed 40 percent by the bank and 60 percent by investors. He said he had support from both of those parties all but lined up.

The presentation concluded as Napoli told the board his next step will be to present the plan to property owners the concept would affect, including the Chappaqua Central School District's Board of Education.

“I’m excited to see more details unfold,” Planning Board Chair Richard Brownwell said. “This was a great presentation and is very interesting.”

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Comments (8)

Chasarch:

Just a slight correction in the story and that is John Eherlich is not part of the development team but an interested party and is expressing his needs and too anyone else is welcome to participate. Call me 238-3490 or chasarch@verizon.net

Chasarch:

So far I'm hearing many of similar thoughts and ideas that the project team has considered and tested to accomplish the goals of the work.
But I find it helpful to keep hearing the concerns and opinions over and over again. Thanks
I need to alter the language so that people hear the message and too the definitions delinieating the many parts and pieces of the work.
For example; underground garage, child safety, and congestion issues need much more understanding.
Also if there is a performance function a 50' high stage house, the mark of any full theater program, is the prerequisite and also morning rush and evening peak periods occure before and after the shopping periods. Finally the kids and Fridays will have a vehicle free road to traverse the main ingredient of the project; the pedestrian walk near lots of invisable parking. Chappaqua looks like it did 80 years ago; lots of green and no cars.

Chappster:

Too big - too grand- way over the top. This is way out of character for our community. A 5 story theater that will tower above all else. An underground parking garage for 300 plus cars smack in the middle of an already heavily trafficked area? I am not sure what test will be passed that designates this "easy" and safe for all users. We have hundreds of kids at Bell school plus many more on this proposed turf field. We have the Rec field down the road and we have an already difficult traffic issue when rush hour trains let out. This plan will add additional cars and traffic to an already congested area. More kids, more cars, more traffic is NOT safe. Senter St is not the only area where children come and go. In fact most make their way towards the street and into town by walking down the hill over the fileds and parking lot. This plan adds more traffic and more cars- not safe at all.
What of our current merchants that will likely be greatly inconvenienced (lose business) as their stores will be buried under construction and parking lost during this very time consuming and long project? We recently delayed street repairs at their request so they could recover after they lost business due to storms. This disruption will crush them.
I dont see how this benefits residents and current merchants. I think a shiny green plastic artificial turf field on top of a parking garage as the towns center piece is a horrible idea. I question the wisdom and need of a 5 story structure for any purpose, theater or anything else in our quaint town. This is a "for profit" proposal by a talented architect (resident) and his investors. I give them credit for trying but this doesnt belong in downtown Chappaqua.

tinafine:

Before the town spends 40$ mil, perhaps they should fix sidewalks, install a generator at the HS, and maybe hire an independent planner. Seems that the plan proposed would totally disrupt life in the hamlet for way too long, impact on current business and pretty much scare people away due to the inconvenience. Remember how long it took to do the bridge? The town is quaint now. I think the current business owners and new ones if given incentives can provide a good mix of services. We already are market like, just add a few more shops and it's good.

Bassett:

It is not the town that will be spending the 40 million. The town already employs a fine town planner and planning consultants are at every zoning and planning board meeting, as well as town board meetings as necessary.

Chasarch:

I would like to refine Michael's fine coverage just a bit and add what I missed saying.
My architectural practice is here in Chappaqua, I specialize in architectural design and have taken on the role of developer of the effort to revitalize the business district of the Chappaqua hamlet. Also, this effort is designed to include all interested parties,
stakeholders and concerned citizens in the decision making process.
Another revision is the equity stack will be 40% private and 60% bank financing.
Finally, the subject of vehicle movement in the hamlet is being designed to pass the test of "easy" and safe for all users of the traveled way and what was not mentioned about the project goals was morning peak hour movements and the new traffic patterns for Bell School drop-off. We are providing a solution that makes it easy to enter Senter Street and deliver the children to their front door. That is the topic of another meeting. My request for participation is out there, please join the process to cause vitality and ease in the hamlet.
Chuck 238-3490

Chappster:

Chuck - here's an idea. Since you must deal with CCSD School Board regarding an easement for your plan, why not swing for the fences. Propose that they close Bell and move all Middle School students to the half empty almost new Seven Bridges MS. Now you will have an empty Bell School that you and your investors can buy, renovate, retrofit, and modernize to suit multipurpose needs. Bell can be combo of any or all retail, residential, office, and even a performing arts center. This way hundreds of children are out of the mix removing a safety issue. You pick up tremendous amount of much needed parking while adding critical mass with additional retail establishments. I have no idea how realistic this idea to buy and convert Bell School is but I am pretty sure your current proposal will be viewed by most as too big, too ambitious, out of character, too disruptive to downtown, and driven to make a buck.. I mean you no disrespect – just saying.

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