New Rochelle City Council: Everyone Loves Going to the Diner Until the Check Comes

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New Rochelle City Council: Everyone Loves Going to the Diner Until the Check Comes

June 12, 2012 - 04:39

Everyone loves a diner.

And these days there is a growing nostalgia for the old Thruway Diner which sat on the opposite side of Weyman Avenue for many years. As word has spread that a company with a long and storied history in New Rochelle is looking to build a diner not far from the site of the old Thruway Diner, it is natural that residents might be excited at the prospect of getting their diner back.

Don't be fooled.

UPDATE: City Council votes 7-0 to approve sale of Lot 50 and Lot 45A to DeRaffele, see complete update and bottom of this article, after the jump.

The City should not be selling valuable public property -- and a lot on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in New Rochelle, just off the New England Thruway, near a major retail area is valuable -- based on nostalgia or personal relationships but based solely on what is in the best interest of the City and, in particular, the taxpayers. In this case, getting the best price for a piece of retail-zoned city property from a purchaser that will deliver the maximum revenue to the city over the long-term.

To understand what is wrong with the current diner proposal that is now getting attention, it is instructive to look at two resolutions concerning City-owned property up for discussion by the New Rochelle City Council at the upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, June 12th. At first glance, the two resolutions would appear to be entirely unrelated.

The first concerns the abandonment of a small parcel on Sylvan Place. The property is being sold to the abutting property owners for $1,000. The second concerns a property to be sold to construct a diner at the corner of Weyman Avenue and Main Street near the Home Depot. In the first case, the "natural buyer" of the property is the owner of the adjacent property. Not so in the second case. There is an interesting reason for that as will become apparent.

(Intro. 5115/12; Public Hearing 6112/12)
3. Communication dated April 20, 2012 from Howard Rattner, Commissioner of Finance, wherein he recommends that a portion of City-owned property located on Sylvan Place at the southerly dead-end terminus be sold to abutting property owners, subject to certain terms and conditions, forwarded with approval of Charles B. Strome, III, City Manager, noted thereon, and appropriate legislation for consideration.
3.1. Planning Board Resolution No. 45 adopted on Tuesday, May 29,2012, wherein the Board recommends, in the best interest of the City, that the City Council deny the requested variance.
3.1.1. Resolution authorizing the sale of City-owned real property (portion of westerly end of Sylvan Place) to abutting property owners and abandoning same.
3.2. Communication dated June 8, 2012 from Howal'd Rattner, Commissioner of Finance, relative to proposed additional condition of sale, as well as neighbors' lack of objection to the proposed sale, forwarded by Charles B. Strome, l/1, City Manager.

4. Communication dated May 25, 2012 from Michael W. Freimuth, Commissioner of Development, wherein he recommends that the City Manager be authorized to enter into a contract for the sale of the above-noted property, subject to certain terms and conditions, forwarded with approval of Charles B. Strome, III, City Manager, noted thereon, and appropriate legislation for consideration.
4.1. Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract to sell City-owned property to DeRaffele Manufacturing Co., Inc. (Weyman Avenue/Main Street).

Main Weyman

The original plan was for DeRaffele, the New Rochelle company that manufacturers diners that are shipped all over the country, to build one on a corner of the Home Depot parking lot.

Asked about the original plan, New Rochelle Development Commissioner Michael Freimuth told Talk of the Sound his understanding was that the plan for the diner on private property owned by Home Depot did not work out. Conveniently for DeRaffele, the City was ready with an alternative.

"The city put out a RFP in January for municipally owned land on Main/Weyman that is zoned retail. Among the respondents was a plan for a diner and a formal recommendation will be made in June to the City Council recommending one of the proposals for the site."

That is the recommendation to be made this week and discussed by the City Council.

There is little doubt among experienced commercial real estate brokers who spoke with Talk of the Sound that the Main/Weyman RFP was put together for the purpose of transferring the property to DeRaffele at the lowest possible price to DeRaffele after their deal with Home Depot fell through.

As the Sylvan Place deal highlights, the most natural buyer for a piece of property is the owner of the adjoining property. In the case of the Main/Weyman RFP they adjoining property is also owned by the City of New Rochelle.

The Main/Weyman RFP describes the property as follows:

The City-owned vacant lot (Block 0550 Lot 50) is approximately one-half acre and is bound between Industrial Place, Weyman Avenue, and Main Street (See attached Site Map). The lot is zoned LSR Large Scale Retail allowing the development of retail facilities and other permitted uses (see City Zoning Code) with an Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 1.0 and a maximum building height of 40 ft. Currently, The Home Depot has a non-exclusive easement at the northwest portion of the property for the purposes of erecting signage to their retail store. It should also be noted that the adjacent, municipally owned, Lot 45A is not included in this RFP but it may be reconfigured to create a more viable site at Lot 50.

The RFP specifically says that "Lot 45A is not included in this RFP". Compounding matters, the RFP includes a map which mistakenly labeled Lot 45A as Lot 40A. The RFP says Lot 45A could be "reconfigured to create a more viable site" but says nothing about the city offering Lot 45A for sale, in fact the RFP specifically states Lot 45A is not for sale as part of the Main/Weyman RFP.

Main Weyman RFP Map

Unlike Lot 50, there is a natural buyer for Lot 45A but this buyer says he was never contacted by the City and never informed that Lot 45A was available. As Lot 45A was specifically excluded from the RFP, and even mislabeled in the RFP, this buyer never submitted a bid.

Gene Pepe's company owns Section 2, Block 550, Lot 45 a property which is contiguous to Section 2, Block 550, Lot 45A. The building he owns is a three-story property zoned LSR Large Scale Retail which has an entrance off Main Street for an upper parking lot and another entrance on Nardozzi Place. Pepe has been interested to purchase Lot 45A because it would allow him to add additional parking for Lot 45 which would better enable to lease the 26,000 square feet of retail space above Allen Carpet and Floors and Tile City at 40 Nardozzi Place

Despite the fact that the RFP excluded Lot 45A and despite the fact that the adjacent property was never notified it was even possible, the City of New Rochelle intends to recommend that DeRaffele be allowed to purchase both Lot 50 and Lot 45A combined with not a single competing bid for both lots. The price is said to be about $600,000. By way of comparison, the property across the street was reportedly leased for 49 years at a price of $50,000,000 to Walgreens. It sounds like DeRaffele is getting quite the bargain which is what happens when you are the sole bidder and the only natural bidder is specifically told a piece of property is excluded from an RFP.

The City of New Rochelle knows all this. They know they have another bidder for Lot 45A. They know the RFP was defective because it excluded Lot 45A when it was later included and it labeled Lot 45A incorrectly as Lot 40A in the RFP map. They also know they are highly likely to get a lawsuit from Pepe if they attempt to proceed with the sale to DeRaffele.

None of this even addresses the rather significant traffic issues. As anyone who has been to the Home Depot or CostCo on a Saturday can tell you, the traffic can be extremely heavy. Under the DeRaffele proposal the road which cuts down from Main Street to Nardozzi Place, a road which allows drives coming off I-95 to bypass the traffic light at the corner of Weyman Avenue and Main Street will be eliminated and a new lane with two 90 degree angles will be cut into Lot 50, wrapping around three sides of the parcel -- Main Street, Weyman Avenue and Nardozzi Place. In addition, the proposed diner will have an entrance from Main Street. The result will be vehicles slowing to between 0-10 mph in order to enter the diner parking lot or make the two sharp right turns onto Weyman Avenue and then onto Nardozzi Place. The resulting traffic shocks at each of these three points will cause traffic waves or stop waves backing all the way up onto I-95 and out onto the highway.

At the end of the day, this deal should be about getting the City of New Rochelle the best price for Lot 50 and Lot 45A in the short-term (the sale price) and the long-term (the taxes to be generated).

The first question is whether correcting the Main/Weyman RFP and allowing Pepe to bid would generate a higher price than the current $600,000 bid by DeRaffele. It would seem obvious that a second bidder would insure a higher price. The City apparently has no idea what the property should be worth because they are selling the property without an appraisal. The combination of no appraisal and a single bidder should raise a major red flag. By way of comparison, Walgreens reportedly signed a 49-year lease for $50 million on the old Thruway Diner property (a 50-year lease is considered a sale so to avoid triggering the tax implications of a sale deals are often written for 49 years). That property is directly across the street from Lot 50. The Net Present Value, what the property is worth today based on the future cash flow from the lease payments is somewhere around $20 million.

The second question is what sort of sales taxes a diner would generate compared to the 26,000 square feet of retail space plus whatever Large Scale Retail Pepe might choose to build on Lot 50.

Getting the answer to the second question should be quite simple: look at the sales tax paid now by Tile City and Allen Carpet and look at both the old Thruway Diner and the Mirage Diner on North Avenue. By doing this, the City Council could evaluate which type of use -- a diner or a retail space would generate the most revenue for the City.

If you want to understand why the City of New Rochelle is broke, you need look no further than deals like this one, the $1 lease of a Church to Mariano Riviera a long-time friend of former City Councilman Joe Fosina or the many other "insider" deals that reap big profits for the few at the expense of the many.

The solution is simple. Repair the Main/Weyman RFP so that it includes Lot 45A and put it back out for bid. That is certainly going to be faster than tying up the property in lawsuits and New Rochelleans will get the best price and the most productive use of the property.

Meanwhile, if you area in the area and really want to understand how poor the planning is here in New Rochelle, take a good look at the trees growing on Lot 45A. They are not indigenous. They are not the remnants of some forest that was cut down to build a Home Depot. Those are trees that were purchased to line the roads in that area. That they are all growing wild, clumped together on Lot 45A is is a story for another day.

UPDATE: The New Rochelle City Council voted 7-0 to approve the sale Lot 50 and Lot 45A to DeRaffele.

New Rochelle Development Commissioner Michael Freimuth said the City was projecting the proposed diner would have $3.5 million in sales which would generate $87,000 in sales tax for the City or about $7,250 a month. He told the Council that the traffic engineering study would be done after CostCo completed work on new gas pumps. CostCo intended to sell heavily discounted gas to members, a move expected to cause a significant increase in traffic.

Mayor Noam Bramson described the diner as a "expression of interest in the community."

Council Member Louis Trangucci described a meeting of the South End Civic Association the night before, saying "they were all excited about the diner".

Council Member Ivar Hyden hoped that the diner could be an attraction for New Rochelle.

There are 17 Comments

List Philip Deraffele Jr. 28 Wilson Drive New Rochelle NY 10801 and Joseph Deraffele 35 Fairmont Rd, Goldens Bridge NY 10526 and a host of other Deraffele's in Real Estate and Electrical.
So Bob can you connect some dots here and give us information on the Political Contributions to the coffers of some of our favorite local democrats?

Philip DeRaffele contributed the following to Noam Bramson:

2006 - $1,000
2007 - $250
2009 - $1,500
2011 - $2,000

I guess this allows you to purchase NR property at a discount.

Robert Cox's picture

$600,000 + $1,000 + $250 + $1,500 + $2,000 = $604,750.

Take the blinders off New Rochelle,

New Rochelle residents are kept in the dark in some very sly ways. First, a majority of the people just don’t care what happens in New Rochelle so long as they don’t get mugged or robbed. They shop else ware because we have very little retail that offers anything of value except for the contractors and store keepers that buy at Home Depot and Costco. As for others, they are not capable of keeping up with what goes on because not everyone goes to the city web site every week to check for updates. The messages and details are managed for the benefit of those with an inside track.

As I said in a post yesterday” New Rochelle, It’s our city and we want it Now!” New Rochelle residents need to step up and take an active role in what happen in New Rochelle. Be informed with regard to our City Government and School Board decision making and leadership. A lot of very poor decisions have been and are being made. These are the people we entrust without tax dollars, our families and our children. They thrive on the fact that people just don’t take the time. Even then you still miss a lot that happens. Even here on TOTS if you don’t take the time, you miss some posts or information. We are only human. It can’t continue if New Rochelle is to get better and thrive. Open your eyes and be surprised!

There were several meetings last week about projects in New Rochelle. Go to a meeting, read a review talk to a friend. Form an opinion then voice that opinion at Citizens To BE Heard Tonight or at another meeting. Write your Council Member. If you don’t speak up it is the same as saying you approve of their tactics or approve with disregard. Open the lines of two way dialogue and true communication for productive input. We need to start putting some butts in the seats! New Rochelle’s challenges have a lot of Buts attach and they need to be dealt with before true change can happen.

Make it your goal to go and check the city web site and see what is on the agenda. See what is going on during the City Council Sessions. You can get an e-mail from the city when a notification is sent out for certain items. On the web site go to the “Notify Me” and you can select a number of areas to get updates on posting and announcements. They can come to your e-mail or as a text.

I challenge you all to go to the city web site and register for the "Notify Me" feature and while you are there read about the agendas and get a feeling for how the site works. Information is knowledge. In New Rochelle, we need a lot more people to step up and be informed. See you tonight.

“Common Sense for the Common Good”

"They thrive on the fact that people just don’t take the time."

Just IMAGINE what you don't know that is going on behind closed doors in City Hall!

"Write your Council Member."Good advice. But not just one polite letter.

At the very least, tweet Idoni II. He doesn't acknowledge your messages, but unless there is a way to block tweets and Hizzoner has done that, he or some lackey in his office gets them.

It's easy. If he and his office are FLOODED with tweets, he may - MAY! - get his head out of his, um, desk.!/noambramson

Do it, before he plunges New Rochelle even further into the toilet.

Robert Cox's picture

I updated this paragraph after getting some additional information so that it now reads.

The first question is whether correcting the Main/Weyman RFP and allowing Pepe to bid would generate a higher price than the current $600,000 bid by DeRaffele. It would seem obvious that a second bidder would insure a higher price. The City apparently has no idea what the property should be worth because they are selling the property without an appraisal. The combination of no appraisal and a single bidder should raise a major red flag. By way of comparison, Walgreens reportedly signed a 49-year lease for $50 million on the old Thruway Diner property (a 50-year lease is considered a sale so to avoid triggering the tax implications of a sale deals are often written for 49 years). That property is directly across the street from Lot 50. The Net Present Value, what the property is worth today based on the future cash flow from the lease payments is somewhere around $20 million.

City Council, Schools not over yet do your homework!

No person in their right mind would sell or lease their property without getting the true value in the current market. The days of no bids and no notice need to stop; Foolish decisions are being made with our tax dollars. Even with the provisions for a no-bid situation there should be a clause in the regulation that in a no-bid situation you are required to get at least three estimates. Approvals should be put through council. In an emergency situation the homework should be done in a way that the city is guaranteed the best price for the work performed. Pipe dream I understand but something must change in the process. Anyone who owns a home or business would not do work or sell off something without checking true value of property or services. Also they would get more than one estimate and opinion!

“Common Sense for the Common Good”

I believe not opening this property up to bidders in a public manner with notices in accepted Periodicals
could be considered a violation of the Public Trust.
If nobody steps up then so be it the highest bidder has indeed secured the property. The Commissioner has got to know this, would political favor be influencing him in a manner that is unethical.
This has a bit of the old New Rochelle Stench associated with it.

If you think that property is worth $20 million, you might qualify for a job at city hall. Those are pretty rosey figures someone's looking at. Walgreen's way over paid to secure the location, as many corporates do to break into a market they have no presence in.

Real Estate appraisers are famous for over stating property values. I've often wanted to sell them back stuff at their inflated prices, but it hasn't worked out yet.

Property is only worth what someone is willing to pay. If no one wants a property, its value (while not zero) is somewhere near it and the owner gets the joy of paying all the expenses; like insurance, taxes, clean-up ect. to maintain it.

And why bring up the church? The city had no alternative after it ran the property into the ground. What was your push? More dollar stores, tear it down? Who do you think would've purchased it? The propery was worthless or had negative value in its current state, but you complain that the city leased it for $1 per year. Its one thing to complain, but to offer no solutions or alternatives isn't helping either. Why Riveria hasn't done anything there is a different story altogether.

BTW, my limited experience with the Deraffele family has always a positive one so I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and if they want to take the chance & gamble & invest a million or two without tax abatements to build and operate a diner, I say God Bless them & best of luck to you!

Robert Cox's picture

I have no issue with the DeRaffele family nor do I have some specific objection to a diner as I believe you know full well since I raised neither of those two issues.

The statement -- "Property is only worth what someone is willing to pay" -- is a meaningless platitude especially in this case. The property's value is determined by many factors and is different for different buyers. In this case, a natural buyer of Lot 45A did not bid for the rather obvious reason that the RFP specifically excluded Lot 45A.

If Lot 45A had been offered in an RFP or in combination with Lot 50 the bidding situation would have been fundamentally altered. What Pepe would have paid for 45A would be very different than what DeRaffele would have paid.

There is no reason to prefer DeRaffele over other bidders simply because he lives in New Rochelle or because he operates a business here. That is not Noam Bramson's property or Chuck Strome's property. The obligation is to maximize the value of the property to the City. The diner might be the best use of the property but we would not know that because we do not know Pepe or someone else might have bid for Lot 45A.

The solution is simple -- a new RFP which clearly indicates which Lots are available and that eliminating Industrial Way can be included as well. Those are MAJOR changes and radically alter the value.

But for you to imply that the lot is worth $20 million is a joke and shows that you have little understanding of property values.

I also agree w/Talt that congestion is the main issue with that area.

Robert Cox's picture

I did not imply that the Thruway Diner lot was worth $20 million and it has nothing to do with understanding property values. Further, the value of Thruway Diner property is ancillary to the point of the article -- that the City did not get the best price for Lot 50 and Lot 45A and did not fully consider the sales tax implications.

I reported what I understand to be the deal that was made at the time. The $20 million figure is a simple calculation of an NPV based on a 49-year lease for $50 million. I have been since told there may be options that extend the deal to 60 years although for my roughly calculating NPV those last 10 years are not terribly important.

There are a variety of factors that go into to determining the value of a piece of property including zoning, FAR, permit height of structures. In the case of the Thruway diner property that is complicated by the fact that the property includes two lots with different zoning. Further, there was an existing business on the property and there was the competitive desire of Walgreens to add a location in New Rochelle as part of their broader competition with CVS.

The point is that a price of $600,000 for Lot 50 and Lot 45A, zoned Large Scale Retail, situated on one of the busiest intersections in the City, right off I-95, in the midst of a now developed retail shopping area strikes me as extremely low. Even if you think the Thruway Diner property is worth a tenth of the price of the NPV based on the reported lease value that is still $1 million. Rather than bicker, why don't you explain how you would value the Thruway Diner property or any other property in the area.

Here is one thing I know for sure. If I have a piece of gold jewelry and want to sell it I check to see what I think it might be worth before I go to a dealer and try to sell it. If I am going to buy or sell a house I have the broker pull comparable listings. If I am buying a used car I check the Kelly Blue Book.

In this case, there was only one bidder what the City is now selling (because the RFP excluded Lot 45A and so no one but DeRaffele bid on Lot 45A).

Further, no effort was made to have an appraisal of the property done.

If you were selling your house would you put a sign in front reading "for sale" and take whatever price you were offered by the first person who knocked on your door? Would you blindly go sell baseball cards, a gold watch or an antique?

No. You first determine the value you hope to get then you try to get as many bidders as you can and get them in competition with each other to drive up the price.

If this is not the case with you, please send me a list of anything you own that you care to sell and I will buy it from you immediately -- at my price with no other bidders.

Again, if only one person knows Lot 45A is for sale that is NOT a case of a property being worth what someone is willing to pay. This was a secret deal that was not offered to other bidders. That is the problem here. It has nothing to do with not liking diners or the DeRaffele family or any of that -- it is whether an effort was made to get the best price and generate the most tax revenue given the zoned use of the property.

There are two sides, more interpetatons, but one fact is beyond queston.

The lot is mislabeled, misleading, and as such, the only correct decision is to correct this however it came about and open it up for reconsideration.

From a point of sheer business logic, Pepe should win the day, but still, the reopening trumps everything else.

A diner is a fine idea and will attract people and, had we more option, grow business elsewhere.

The Council did not take matters into proper consierationi nor does it seem the Development staff through he City Manager, properly presented all of the facts to the Council and do so in such a way that assists in sound problem solving and decision making.

I think there must be a better site available for this enteprise downtown; perhaps with all of its potential lead in advantages, the City Council can look at this from different perspectives from re-zoning to if necessary, eminent domain, but a type that secures acceptable sites for those businesses or non-profits asked to move. If any are churches, as one local minister said, God can be worshipped on a side street.

Perhaps, a better use for the Albermarle site can be used for De Raffeale and on-site vertical parking should be easy enough. Sure beats a residental use.

Again, the reissuance of an RFP is a no brainer and as Obama says, the mistakes made in presentationi of the facts and the failure of Council to demand a better product from Strome and his staff, is a "teaching moment."

Noam, you can have a perfect storm of satisfied supporters and others if you place this back on the open track.

As far as all this is concerned in the broader sense, it brings up two points to me that I will try to constructively word.

1. no ceremonial mayor needs any form of contribution base or supporter fund base. It is a temptation to "bend the rules" and speaks to my points around the City Charter. No seeing this clearly raises the clear fact that this type of mischief will come up time in and time again. see hour friend USED for input on Idoni's use of the friendly Rolodex.

2. I want to thank Brian for the website on filing in NYS -- th poor mans optio -- which I believe the good citizen steve Mayo was exploring or using earlier this year on another matter. Steve by the way, sees the need for Charter review as his number one priority in New Rochelle if I remember this correctly. He may be right although it is sad to tell you that it is a case of Charter adherence more than Charter Rrvision, except for.

3. The need for a referendum or community action to demand a Code of Ethics which is sadly lacking in our community. Thsi way, we can deal with wrongful use of contributions, etal without labeling anyone or otherwise spending too much time internally quarreling over lessr matters.

Good posting Mr. Cox This is a fine case in point for the above and I especially like how you compared th sale of city assets correctly in the Sylvan Place situation as opposed to this one.

I seem to remember someone trying to buy lot 50 years ago and it was shot down because of the traffic congestion it would cause. Nothing has changed in the layout except a Costco Gas Station which will generate a lot more traffic. Where are the traffic studies and environmental inpact studies? For this and everything else mentioned above this seems like a real disaster waiting to happen.

Robert cox,
You are spot on!
Most people know that this is an insider transaction. The mayor's many luncheons with DeRaffele are well known over the years, mostly had in Larchmont and mamaroneck. take a good look at deRaffelle's other connections with city council ,the director of development, plumbing inspectors, and former mayors.
Some think that the city of Yonkers has a history of corruption. New rochelle has it's own
And redirecting a major access road.!, Wow !
Walgreens had to fight the city to build their facility in a NB zone adjoined by a LI zoned parcel.
And I have to laugh at the way a price has been determined. Look at recent sales in the area. They are posted on property and loop net.
Take a good look at the sales tax revenue for the city from the mirage diner It is like a hot dog stand.
Look at the tax rolls for adjacent properties. Looks like a deal has been struck a long time ago.
How about hours of operation? Walgreens was limited a 10 pm closing time. Is the diner going to walk in with a 24 hour operation When a pharmacy was denied that?
Maybe the local neighborhood community board should be actively asking a lot of questions !

Caruso's Lumberama used to occupy that parcel, and wished to remain there.

They were kicked out by the City of New Rochelle, because, in order to build Home Depot, it was necessary that the entrance from Main Street to Home Depot had to be built between Lot 50 and Lot 45A.

It seemed absurd at the time. Now the same government is of the opinion that the same Main Street entrance is frivolous. This arbitrary and capricious contradiction should be used as an example, if Gene Pepe files a NY Supreme Court Article 78 action. A 42 USC §1983 civil action for deprivation of rights, might also be appropriate.

However, the traffic congestion argument against a Diner having an entrance from Main Street is offset by usage of the current existence of Home Depot's entrance from Main Street.

We do need another diner, and more late night and 24 hour businesses in New Rochelle. Generally City Hall does what it can to repress commerce in New Rochelle. I guess if New Rochelle commerce actually thrived, the City wouldn't have their standard excuse for development boondoggles. DeRaffele's Diner, while appearing like one of NR's sweetheart deals, at least does offer more commerce and an addition to night life, in contradiction to our government's usual counter-productive efforts.

My main concern, and I believe Bob Cox's, is for fairness and equality, which is where 42 USC §1983 comes in. And the other major issue is that the City of New Rochelle should stop giving away property cheaply, considering that it buys property expensively and unnecessarily.

There is no reason to think Mr DeRaffele did anything wrong to benefit from the City's decisions, nor of any bias in his favor or errors or policies of ommissions by our City government.

So while it appears that the City went about this improperly and unfairly, I wish the best of luck to both Mr Pepe and Mr DeRaffele. Perhaps the solution is that Pepe and DeRaffele share the parking, and ultimately some of the same customers. Then everyone wins.

another 'anchor' store or diner or whatever is not necessary and won't do anything to REVITALIZE downtown New Rochelle.

If the great politicians are going to give away property, give away something on Main Street to invite an out-of-town store (other than a taqueria or a dollar store) to build there.

I'm curious, doesn't Idoni II read here? Is he blind to what the people are saying?