There will be no room for remorse . That about sums it up when speaking of the consequences of misguided demolition . The fact is , there has been no actual review of the possibilities of an adaptive re-use of the Armory , by this or any other administration . The only consideration given was the City asking the most recent developer , Forest City- Ratner , what they want to do with the property . Hardly in-depth thinking . Granted the city doesn't have much experience in this area , but that only reinforces the need to stop and take a closer look at just what might happen and what we will loose forever . There is no going back .Read more
The world premiere production of Crazy Enough will not take place at the New Rochelle Center Stage at the Armory so it will not be weaving music and story into a ride through the darkest alleys and brightest vistas faced by the human mind. Instead, the Armory sits idle, awaiting Noam Bramson's wrecking ball.
If we take a look at some stellar examples of the principles I spoke of earlier, we can use some imagination and apply some of their best ideas to the Armory. I often point to the Portland Center Stage Armory for many reasons but primarily for Portland's approach to their project . At one point, the Portland Armory was to be demolished but it was saved at the last moment. In that particular case, salvation came in the form of a theater company looking for a home.
The engineering firm behind the reinvention of the Portland Armory as a theater space:Read more
"The greenest building is the one that's already built" is not just a new catchphrase . It is a proven concept that is being applied to historic and non historic buildings all across the country . Take the Portland Armory as an example . In the Jan '07 issue of www.Metropolis Mag.com , Brian Libby writes "In October it became the first historic-building renovation to earn a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council—a transformation that illuminates just how tricky (yet ultimately feasible) it can be to strike a balance between the principles of sustainability and preservation." . Numerous other projects are realizing how clear the choice is when trying to save a significant piece of a cultures history and move forward with development .From Bizjournals.com we hear “We wanted to preserve it, the historical significance of it,” said Seth Patton, vice president for finance and management at Denison University, referring to Cleveland Hall. “It’s an attractive old building. It also fits into current thinking on environmental sustainability – to reuse what you can rather than tearing down and starting over.” “Everyone likes to throw the ‘green’ word around, especially with new construction,” Jenkins said. “Actually, one of the greenest ways to act in the construction industry is to reuse existing structures.Read more
In a desperate attempt to circumvent the binding deed and covenant compelling New Rochelle to maintain and use the Armory for the good of the public, it is reported that Mayor Bramson will be bringing a Home Rule Request up for a vote at an upcoming council meeting. This would pave the way for council running amuk with no accounting to the public (tax payer). There has been no real discussion about a readaptive use for the Armory, although elsewhere, throughout this country, people have chosen to make a success of the jewel in their possession.
The city council chose to turn their back on the Armory on the advice of their developer. Mr Kruse from Forest City said ...our retail guys have looked at it and considered it a "missing tooth". What if the city said "we want to readapt the Armory" ? Well, the developer would have included it in their plans. Abe Naperstek, also from Forest City, said they would have included the Armory if the council told them to. Realizing the importance of the structure, one of the other developers applying for the project, Twinings Development, actually did include it in their plans . So. you see, it CAN be done, it just takes the commitment to turn an historical icon into something we can all be proud of.Read more
The Westchester Veterans Adaptive Center
The New Rochelle Center for the Performing Arts
The New Rochelle Youth Sports Olympic Games
The New Rochelle Regional Songwriters Symposium
The New Rochelle War Veterans Interpretive Center
The New Rochelle "Go Green" Building and Technology Trade Show
The New Rochelle Center for Opera
The New Rochelle Business and Trade Exposition
The Norman Rockwell "Hometown History" Exhibit
The "New Rochelle - Rich in History" Our Place in History and Culture Through the Years Exhibit
The New Rochelle Children's Outreach Weekend
The New Rochelle Regional Gymnastics Invitational
The New Rochelle Center for Sustainable Design
Each and every one of these venues would end with the same three words - At The Armory - if only there was the commitment to do so. That is ALL that is needed to start, everything else can be worked out. That is how a vision is transformed into reality. That is how all great projects become a success. It is the clarity of that vision that will provide the path to solving the issuesRead more
[this article originally appeared in the Feb. 3, 2009 Westchester Herald]
"Nothing will happen (to the New Rochelle Armory) without the State being the lead agency." These words by Peter Parente at the Save Our Armory (SOA) meeting set the tone on January 26 at the American Legion, Post 8 in New Rochelle. Both Ron Tocci and Peter Parente, co-chairs of the SOA Committee, wanted to get the city to agree on uses for the Armory. Parente mentioned that there are federal grants and loans that could be used to develop a good business plan for the Echo Bay area.
Forest City Ratner's financial problems according to Tocci have caused the company to cancel some of their pending projects. With this possible void, putting a new roof on the Armory might create "a plan that makes sense," Tocci continued. Councilman Lou Trangucci questioned how to validate that Forest City Ratner is "close to bankruptcy." He added the company is "still committed to the project." A neighborhood needs not only a plan to save the building. but also funding. When asked about the stimulus program and funding for the city, Councilman Trangucci suggested that the $10 million project on storm water was a current priority of the city. Parente and Tocci were asked to go on WVOX to explain to the public where the SOA committee is today.Read more
Maisano, Trangucci, and Cox Address the South End Civic League (Westchester Herald)
County Legislator Jim Maisano brought "bad news" about the federal mandates to remove the nitrogen from two sewage plants in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck. He characterized the upgrading necessary as the "largest capital project" in Westchester's history and felt the costs were unfair to the taxpayers on the Sound Shore. There is no funding coming from New York State to reduce the taxpayers' costs. Federal funding is being sought. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, he felt, needs to look at these necessary changes which must be paid for by the four Long Island Sound Sewer districts. In answer to questions from members of the South End Civic League meeting on January12, Maisano said that technology for nitrogen removal was changing and in the near future we "may get better technology." He felt "forced" to vote for the 30 year bonds to finance this project which could translate to an increase of more than $250 per year for homeowners' taxes.Read more