New Rochelle Veterans Request Meeting with City Council on Armory

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New Rochelle Veterans Request Meeting with City Council on Armory

February 22, 2012 - 08:17

Post Card of the New Rochelle Armory ca.1930's

For the second time in as many years, representatives of Veteran's groups, Save Our Armory Committee, and concerned citizens are formally requesting to meet with the City Council and the Mayor. A new vision for the Echo Bay area that includes taking advantage of an adaptive re-use of the historical structure will be presented for consideration. With time running out on the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) handed to Forest City/Ratner Developers, proponents of Armory re-use contend that now is the time to rethink the possibilities. At the heart of the new vision is the expectation to return the Armory to its original purpose of serving the public good. To that end, the Armory supporters will be requesting a one year MOU with New Rochelle for the purpose of establishing financing and development services.

After the first extension of the MOU, Forest City presented a plan that was not well received by council for its greatly scaled back vision and lack of commitment from the developer to pursue the development of the entire 26 acres that comprise the Echo Bay waterfront. Subsequently a 60 day extension was granted to buy time for the developer to reinforce their position.

Allowing the MOU extension to expire would serve the city well in two distinct ways. First it would allow the city to actively entertain alternative plans for the Armory and secondly, it would open up the waterfront acreage to a more competitive climate thereby giving the city new options.

Read the request and more by clicking the link below:

New Rochelle Veterans Request Meeting with City Council on Armory

There are 18 Comments

Knock this horrid thing down already and let the free markets build over this mess of a building. Its a freakin warehouse and the property is waterfront used to store GARBAGE TRUCKS!!! Get over it!

The Armory's not the best waterfront site, sandwiched in between the cement factory and the city yard which is next to the sewage plant.

Where o where should I pick to go swimming? The choices are endless.

What do you propose, expanding the McDonalds? Why tear the Armory down? I take it you've never served in the military? I haven't either but I do respect & honor their service and commitment to the country.

Speaking of commitments, isn't there a restriction on the deed?

The city took ownership continent on the basis of using, maintaining and keeping the Armory in the realm of "public use"

click below and you'll see the actual deed the city agreed to and ultimately, without regard for the rule of law, refused to comply with the law.

And here it is, right from the City's own corporation counsel

And, just in case you might think the city didn't know they were supposed to take care of the Armory, here's a screen shot from the old city website that claims responsibility for taking care of the Armory

Thanks for asking ! The SOA is always looking for groups to speak to and spread the truth.

Maybe you should take your cute little penny and buy a clue. A free market Would include the armory in it's development of Echo Bay. In fact, two of the developers in the running were going to do just that. Unfortunately it was only the Ratner family from Forest City who came through with enough campaign funding to help the mayor see his way(or should I say their way). So, take your wonderfully creative clip-art penny and go buy that clue because it just isn't enough to play in this town. If you really want to have a grown up discussion - get a grip.


This is my opinion. Just like you are entitled to yours, Im entitled to mine. An adult conversation surely wouldnt include you making fun of my icon, and I promise to do the same.

This quickly became a hot topic, and developers where quick to include the armory in the plans and design simply as a sweetener to keep some people happy. Im sure the developers return on investment would be greater if they leveled it rather than incorporate it. In reality and from a development standpoint its just a non income, non tax producing, delapidated building in the way of new development that contributes nothing to the community in the way of taxes, services, ammenities or social enrichment.

It isn't just the Armory, the whole developement will be non-tax producing.

And then we all get to share in the cost of building new schools. Well not really everyone, the exempt properties like Trump & Avalon probably won't pay a dime.

Are they paying anything towards the upgrades at the adjacent sewar plant? I don't think so, same thing happened when United Water wanted to charge Cappelli for new water mains to his building, he refused to pay & United Water, make that the rate payer, got stuck footing the tab.

"knock the horrid thing's a freakin warehouse)? really? You are certainly entitled to have your opinion, but before you enter it into the publics domain, get some facts because everyone has the right to be wrong.You have no idea what free market means if you believe taxpayer subsidy is included in "free market" . The reason it's not producing income can only be attributed to your city administration's inability to provide vision and open the conversation to those who have New Rochelle's best interest in mind. Out of Forest City's own mouth were the words, if we don't make enough, the city will have to make up the difference(as in taxpayer). It's a NAVAL Militia Armory, that's the reason it's on the waterfront. We OWN a building that's unique insofar as there are very few cities that can claim to have one. Unique in tis architecture(see the heritage award application) and, its been part of the fabric of the community for decades. So, you might say why would you save the Armory, I would say why wouldn't you save the armory?. Privately funded, making money, engaging the community, attracting commerce, naturally green, historic, what more do you need? For every dollar spent at the Armory there would be 5-10 dollars spent on the local merchants. No taxpayer subsidy. Get it? Quite frankly I'm tired of the misinformation and half truths that have led to the corruption of the potential of a wonderful icon right here in our own back yard. A stellar, dynamic facility attracting people to town to enjoy the best New Rochelle has to offer, then going home. We won't have to school their kids, pick up their garbage, or provide services to 3000 residents, AND all of the public will always have access to the water. Not so in a private development.

To your point of it quickly becoming a hot topic, the effort to re-use the Armory has been going well before any developer came to town. In fact, since 1997.

Also, by your very own logic, non income, non tax producing, contributing nothing to the community in way of taxes, services, amenities, or social enrichment actually describes the planned fiasco of overdeveloped housing.

In the free market there is nothing alien with cities subsidizing development. It is a proven method to rejuvinate neighborhoods & attract businesses. New york city has done so sucessfully in brooklyn, the bronx & harlem. And has paid back 10 fold just based on property values and tax revenue. Buffalo which is a rapidly growing city is heavily subsidized through ny state and is booming in a recession. To be competitive and attract business & commerce small cities today must compete with other cities to attract developers & retail this mean offering tax abatements, subsidies free utilies ect. This is the cost of business. Should new rochelle not subsidize and court developers and sit back and watch the city burn out to the state it was in the 80's & 90's? That was real should we save every military warehouse, base, storage shed or armory in the US?? Id be happy to see a wrecking ball and a back hoe put to the Armory. A city is a business and If you arent evolving, you just might as well be dead. Really its not a west point or an annapolis, its a delapidated old warehouse used to store junk and have haunted houses in. And the back is used to store garbage trucks. The useful lifetime of the building has expired.

Your argument is all over the map. While free market and subsidy may coexist in some markets, the assumption that one is reliant on the other is absurd. Success is based on sound business planning. Pelham, Mt Vernon and Port Chester have all managed to press forward in spite of the dip in the economy. How has New Rochelle fared with its fetish for subsidized housing development? Even the Commissioner of Development for NR has indicated there needs to be more focus on retail and commercial enhancement rather than housing. The performance of the NR IDA has been abysmal like many other IDAs across the state. When it's costing 300,000 to produce one 40k job something is amiss. Studies have shown that conceptually, it was a good idea however, the results more often than not, have been a big disappointment (except for the developers bottom line) When revenues projected as a ROI consistently fail to materialize and there is no impetus for the developer to "adjust" for falling short, there is something wrong. If you are serious about the city being a business, then how can you justify deal after deal of negative ROI? With your method the city would suffer from a crumbling tax base, loss of retail and increased burden on the residential taxpayer - oh wait that's what we have. I guess you were right but I still wouldn't let you manage the city. We have enough of that mentality already. Who are we trying to help? The city or the developer? When the "cost of business" continually exceeds the return, the business will fail. In fact, our tax base is the same as it was back in the 80's in spite of all the development we've had. Are we better off? Our taxes keep going up as services go down. Sorry, but I just can't support your view of overly subsidized housing, with no sense of a retail/commercial initiative. Couple that with a complete lack of understanding of the benefit of mixing old with new to stimulate a neighborhood and I'll have to pass on your method. New Rochelle has already been sold down the river, we don't need it again.
BTW your anger towards the building is of great concern. Your threat is being reported to the authorities in an effort to protect the building.
Have a nice day

there is nothing simple about this debate other than pointing our that common sense lacks consensus, And, it seems that armory lacks cache. it further seems that free market forces concerning echo bay may have suffered from political excesses by having the terms of its utility micromanaged by power perquisites meaning the merits of whatever maximum value it would have had to the busienss proposition of new rochelle were weighed by the liking structure of those running new rochelle.

but, that is somewhat heavy handed; the simpler equation involvees harnassing the forces of a free market so they are free withut denigrating the community value and sentiment of a sizable representative of the community regarding this Armory.

Many community have ediices, monument, places of historical importance that could and should interfere with development. It took me a while to see it, but the Armory has a history, a meaning that would bind disparate community members into a common bond. It is ramsasckled, in disrepair, but during times when men and women put community anf family before self interest, it gathered them for a perilous journey. Later it meant more as residents gathered for reserve duty and later, youth met to serve as cadets and learned life affirming values.

Alas, still later it because abused, neglected, a clown house for Hallowween. And, then an impediment standing in the way of a developemnet effort that would bring nothng substanstial to New Roch but a ego boost for the power structure; those that neglected it earlier, could not find value to the community in a memorialized sense or a community refuge and center. It became a roadblock for upper scale residential housiing that would not bring any appreciable relief to the city coffers, and thus, the taxpayer.

I believe in free market enterprise but with constraints and this issue speaks of constraints more than the exercise of the invisible hand.

Common Sense and John D, we could easily have both. I am convinced that if the proper developer eye were turned toward it, tempered by clear expressions of the will of the community, and finished off by the council demand that the project contain reasonable expectations of commercial income plus recreational space, the Armory could stand for itself as a community asset, repaired as a model for green technology, balancing what alreedy exists in other parts of town, and finally, as a chapel, a history leason, and of a time of better citizenship, when manty left to go into harms way so we can debate the marginal utility of a little house on a prairie lot.

come on... you are two intelligent citizens who can come up with some form of agreement as to optimizing utulity; a win-win as it were. Maybe the city fathers can learn a lesson from this and stop moving ahead with albanese while the primary business district drrowns in the waters of not so benign neglect.

Both sides can work out a reasonable solution, but the bottom line is, as it is now its a waste of 26 waterfront acres on long island sound. Eventually tax abatements end, and they produce tax revenues for cities. But other tax are paid during the abatement, like sales tax paid by the residents shopping in their neighborhoods. New businesses will open to service residents and create jobs ect. I dont think its
Such a bad idea if you look at the long term.

Come on john come back down to reality land..Anger? Wow John, Im definately not angry in any way shape or form. As a matter of fact you seem to have the anger issue or too many cocktails.

Heres a green solution, When the developers knock down the armory, they can re use the stones to pave new side walks and make a Nice memorial or and a small park.

Is that fair??

If nothing else you're easily entertained. That explains the fascination with the shiny penny. After reading your posts' I'm convinced that somewhere a village is being deprived.

In reality,
Housing won’t make New Rochelle a destination for visitors or shoppers. A proper reconstruction of the Armory just might. I don’t know why people don’t take advantage of the fact that The Armory is history. History does sell. It could become a contributor to the community in the way of taxes, services, amenities or social enrichment.

A properly planned out renovation can make what is already part of New Rochelle very successful. There are many armory locations throughout the New York area that have very successful armories. They cater to Sports, The Arts, Entertainment and many different types of social events. New Roc, Avalon and even Donald Trump couldn’t bring what they promised. So why leave it to another developer. Especially ones we have already dealt with to no success. There could be a vision for The Armory that could make it a destination which in turn could help boost downtown at the same time. But you need people with a vision. Not leaders with blinders on.

There are several Armories close by that I have had the pleasure of dealing with over the years. As historical landmarks and as sporting event venues these locations see wonderful amounts of use. They are of value to their communities, The City and State of New York. Below are three that I have dealt with over the years:

1) Park Avenue Armory 643 Park Avenue New York, NY 10065
"Park Avenue Armory is the most important new cultural institution in New York City."
- The New York Times

2) The 69th Regiment Armory 68 Lexington Avenue Regimental Headquarters New York, NY 10010

3) New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory 216 Fort Washington Avenue New York, NY 10032
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We have enough people living in New Rochelle. What we need are people to come visit, shop and spend here. That vitality will move people to say they want to come to New Rochelle to live, shop and spend. We would have a community of citizens here that are proud of their city. That is what sells. Not apartments or condos. But, the vision must come First.

“Common Sense for the Common Good”

A vision for the Armory is all that's needed to make it a positive reality for this city. when you get a chance please visit and follow the news and history of the Armory as we work towards what's best for New Rochelle. Thanks!

What NR is missing is an ice rink.

Can the Armory be retro-fitted to accommodate a rink?

I got to thinking about the renovations at City Park where the city is supposed to build a rink 1 day and realized the planners forgot to expand parking there. With all the new fields & possibly a rink being used, there's going to be a shortage of parking and the Armory might be a better location anyway.

Maybe City Park's a good place for more meters and we can keep a CSO busy writing tickets to boost city halls coffers? (just joking here, but unfortunately this is how our city leaders think; always more revenue and never lets cut spending)

as a former and now future resident of new rochelle, i have been reading "talk of the sound" for months and find that bob maccaffry constantly has some of the most intelligent and useful ideas for our home town. ...
i spent most of my life in new rochelle...schools, business, friends, family, other than the years from 1996 to the present and now that my dear wife, betty, has passed away i find the need to come "home" again.
who knows, possibly i shall be able to add to the "talk of the sound" from time to time.
Arthur Librett

Many agree with your characterization of Mr Maccaffrey's comments. This is a forum for all to express their views and thoughts about issues on New Rochelle. Sorry to hear of your loss and perhaps it may help to know you are welcome here. Believe it or not you've already contributed to the conversation, so as I said, welcome home.
(if your from the Librett as in Librett's hardware, thank you for what was a wonderful, customer oriented shop. The kind of personal assistance one received when entering the store is sorely missed these days. )