New DP techniques: Two Thumbs Up

I was unable to attend Tuesday, November 12th’s Newburgh City Council meeting so I caught up with it today by watching it on the city’s youtube channel.

I was overjoyed to see the return of good director of photography practices, such as zooming in appropriately on the speaking subject, instead of the practice of yore of sitting like an unattended security camera on the council table, even when the public would be giving comments.  They may be only my two thumbs, but nonetheless I lift them up to you, IT department, for doing a proper job.

As for the rest, it was refreshing to have a prayer that was light on the Praise Jesuses and the hallelujahs and surprisingly brief.  Although the council agreed on most resolutions, and disagreement was limited to one dissenting party, the dissent was presented in a civilized and reasonable manner for the most part.  In the case of Mayor Kennedy’s astonishing dissidence with the Mid-Broadway project, I’m disappointed we haven’t heard from this mayor before–it sounds like she has some important things to say.  Although in the end the majority ruled, and we will have our preposterously double-parked, wooden-constructed shantytown over a discount supermarket, whether it brings disaster (as some say it will) or more development (as others say it will) remains to be seen.

Ain’t I Newburgh

With all due respect to the memory of Sojourner Truth.

I went to Horizons-on-the-Hudson Magnet School in the 1970s.  Ain’t I Newburgh?

At HOH in those days, they taught us to think critically and ask questions.  Some of the junior high school teachers would complain about us HOH kids because we asked “too many” questions.  Ain’t I Newburgh?

I prefer not to confuse advertising campaigns with religious movements.  Ain’t I Newburgh?

I believe that negative thinking can be lifesaving.  Ain’t I Newburgh?

I hope that when you see the “I am Newburgh” signs, you will also think about what they ain’t.  Ain’t I Newburgh?

Legislative Candidate Curlie Dillard on Armory related issues

The Hudson Valley Press Online posted an article yesterday in which Councilman Curlie Dillard, a candidate for the 4th Legislative District,  makes some objections regarding the county’s proposed purchase of the Armory and DMV buildings.  Over the years I have written about many of the topics Dillard now brings up on this blog.  While it is heartening to have a government official take seriously some of these concerns, it is also bittersweet as I wish Councilman Dillard had expressed himself years ago when some of these situations first became public.

On October 25, 2012, I posted this article about the county’s proposed purchase of the Armory building. I had attended the legislative committee meeting at which it was discussed, and despite it being the product of Diana’s administration, it made total sense to me at the time.  I do not recall the sales tax issue being mentioned in that discussion.  Dillard’s figures are significant so perhaps this does merit some reconsideration.

Otherwise, if Mr. Dillard is willing to take a stand on these issues, perhaps he will do some good as a legislator.  For example, there remains the mystery of the $182,000 in bond payments that were diverted to Mr. Carchietta (alluded to in the closing paragraph of the HVPO article.)  If we persist in having a county government that is able to lose $182K here or there, and not care too much about what happened to it, because after all, Mr. Carchietta is Mr. Diana’s friend, Orange County is going to lose more than its AAA bond rating.

Sono cinema dei telefoni bianchi

I.

Il telefono squilla.  “Pronto?”  “Sono cinema dei telefoni bianchi.”
The phone rings.  “Hello?”  “It’s white telephone films.”

Casadelpeccato

Assia Noris in La casa del peccato

I took Professor Angela Dalle Vache’s European Cinema class at Yale.  I had an affection for brainwashing-themed films at the time, previously expressed in a paper on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate.  For Professor Dalle Vache* I would turn my attention to Fritz Lang’s Mabuse films (see below), at her recommendation.  However, one suggestion she made which I did not get a chance to pursue was to look into the cinema dei telefoni bianchi, the “White Telephone Films.”  These were films produced in the late 1930s and early 1940s that were characterized by frivolous plots of rich people in lush settings.  A white telephone at this time was seen as a symbol of high luxury, and one was generally worked into the plot.  While not directly state-controlled, these films promoted an escapist illusion that all was well in Italy, in keeping with the Fascist government of the time.  Neorealism was the film movement that succeeded such fare, where filmmakers took to the streets and made movies showing the actual conditions and difficulties ordinary people were facing.

 

II.

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

Wikipedia does a great job detailing this 1933 German film.  Dr. Mabuse is a psychotic criminal mastermind (Lang had made earlier films with this character) who is somehow able to psychically convey criminal plans.  He is a master of the media trappings of modern civilization; after his death his criminal schemes live on.  I haven’t seen it in many years.  Reading over the plot again, I find it hard to pay attention.  Maybe about ten years ago I tried to watch it again but I wasn’t focused enough to take it in.  In contrast, I find Lang’s M quite watchable upon repeated viewings.

What is perhaps most interesting about this film to me at this point is that it was banned by Joseph Goebbels, head of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.  One thing the Nazis were good at was controlling information.  Goebbels offered Lang a job working for them in the 1940s, and according to Lang that night he left Germany.  He would eventually end up making films in California.**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III.

The propaganda of our time, in our neighborhood.

I am alarmed by the interweaving of the Greater Newburgh Partnership and the City of Newburgh government.

It was not so many years ago that I heard an account of how St. Luke’s Hospital CEO Allan Atzrott delivered an ultimatum to the Architectural Review Commission: let the hospital do as it wished, or he would move it out of the City of Newburgh.

Then, in 2006, there was the Orange County Community College Newburgh campus site-selection circus.  Before settling on its current location next to the Key Bank Building overlooking the Hudson, there was a tizzy of lobbying activity for other sites, in particular the “Mid-Broadway” site then gift packaged by the city to developer Robert Carchietta.  For many reasons, the original site-selection committee did not recommend the Carchietta site, prefering the Armory site or the ultimate choice, the Key Bank Building.  Carchietta’s site would have been the most expensive by many millions, and there were deep structural flaws*** with the choice, such as not enough parking spaces for a mostly car-commuting student body.  St. Luke’s Hospital was one of the entities that lobbied for Carchietta’s site.  It must have been attractive for them, since it was relatively close to the hospital, and theoretically would improve the neighborhood, even though it would have cost the taxpayers many, many millions more.  Was this a crushing disappointment for Mr. Atzrott from which he vowed, “Never Again”?

Fast forward to the formation in 2010 and 2011 of the Greater Newburgh Partnership (GNP), a joining of forces of businesses, nonprofits and trades groups in the city and surrounding area that serves the city, under the leadership of Mr. Atzrott.  Three of the four bullet-points of its mission seem innocuous enough and even helpful.  It is the fourth that offends:

  • Enhancing and complimenting code compliance efforts underway in the city of Newburgh;
  • Encouraging private sector investment in Newburgh, through creative planning, market research and change in perception;
  • Coordinating public and private sector resources in support of specific projects;
  • Pro actively managing the perception of the city of Newburgh through consistent and coordinated messaging. [Emphasis added]

Well, I guess that explains why Stepford Wife/Mayor Judy Kennedy did back flips to prove that “actually everything’s just peachy in the city!  We have no financial problems whatsoever!” on a recent YNN segment.  So I guess we can have all our streets repaved, and sidewalks improved, and hire 20 new cops for community policing, and some meter maids, and a couple of fire trucks, and a sometimes controversial crime analyst, and fix council chambers so there isn’t that horrible hiss from the speakers, and ALSO we can LOWER the TAX RATE that we had to raise so much a few years ago, and start doing bulk garbage pick up again for free!  Yeah, golly gee, you betcha, we can do all that ’cause we don’t have any financial problems AT ALL! We are MOVING FORWARD.  We are on the UP AND UP.  Have a lollipop, ’cause you’re a sucker!

Special mention goes to the GNP’s bribe to the city of $250,000 in the form of a grant award from the Dyson Foundation to revamp the zoning code.  A committee was selected to work on the zoning code, and their meetings and discussion should be open to the public.  This is not an auxiliary club for the Hospital–wait, or is it? Meetings have been held at the hospital, and are not announced to the public.  Go to the city’s “rezoning” page and you get a Whole Lotta Nothing, even though the process, grant, and meetings have been going on for quite some time now:

Screen shot 2013-08-11 at 12.11.46 AM

On January 8, 2013, I filed an ethics complaint with the City Council regarding what I believe was a breach on the part of City Manager Herbek in contracting with his former company–from whom he received money for new referrals–to update and run the city’s site.  GNP was involved here by giving a grant to cover most of the initial charges.  I have often wondered why the city council never responded to me, as they are duty bound to do, according to our city’s charter.  Why did Mayor Kennedy not see fit to respond to my phone call asking for an update?

Why?

What a silly question!  I am a peon, and my untidy ethics complaint might paint the city’s Corporate Master Businesses/Hospital Partner in a negative light!  Well, we couldn’t have that.  We have to keep MOVING FORWARD!  We have NO PROBLEMS AND NO FINANCIAL PROBLEMS AT ALL!  FURTHERMORE WE HAVE NO POOR PEOPLE, NO DISABLED PEOPLE, NO PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION, NO SOCIAL PROBLEMS, NO HUMAN NEEDS.  After all, we aren’t humans you know, we’re Barbie dolls!  And we live in perfect little homes with pink turrets and plastic dogs that don’t shit and of course no broken homes, always a partner for Barbie whether it’s Ken or some other Barbie name.

Welcome to the white telephone films of our time.

My humblest attempt to bring on a wave of neorealism to our pathetic, deluded, and utterly codependent city government.

I am not even touching the Land Bank, which I have written about previously, as I missed their meeting this past week.  In my opinion the worst part of this is the stranglehold grip the GNP is exercising on the submissive city council.

Notes

*I thank Professor Dalle Vache for taking the unusual step of calling me in my dorm room and telling me to finish my Mabuse paper, which made it possible for her to give me an A.

**en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Testament_of_Dr._Mabuse

***It is my understanding that Carchietta’s site was contaminated with asbestos due to improper demolition procedures.  This has never been properly addressed, and was totally denied by then City Manager Jean-Ann McGrane.

And God Bless You

jeepers

This afternoon a woman in a jeep who looked like Kurt Vonnegut asked me to move my car.  For some reason I was angry, I don’t know why—maybe because I had just come back from a doctor’s appointment and the bridge on the way back was totally stressful.  (I have problems with heights.)  I said to her, “No—sorry.”  She got angry and said “God bless you,” or “Bless you child” or something like that.  I don’t know why but this little incident was profoundly upsetting to me.  I don’t know why I said no—I guess exhaustion and I was annoyed because of the girls next door who parked their car smack in the middle of the two-car spot the previous night.  An alternate side of the street parking night.  (Re. the jeep lady, ten minutes later I left in the car so Lady Vonnegut got what she wanted after all.  And God Bless You.)

Anyway…  I remember when the Lembhard business first flared up, two years ago I think, whenever I stopped going to the Newburgh council meetings because things were getting crazy, the overall tenor of the meeting was one of extreme anger.  I could not handle it.  There wasn’t anything I wanted to say or know about what was going on.  I didn’t like how people were behaving, it was like a big nasty soup that made me want to take a shower and go home, somewhere far, far, away, like Düsseldorf or Bikini Atoll.   At that point I felt like the protestors were trying to prove a point, wagging their fingers and saying “You might think you’re in control here, but you’re not, we’re in control here, and you better not forget that.”  It was ugly.  Was my retreat an acceptance of that fact?  I don’t know, but it was necessary to preserve whatever working reserves of sanity I’ve got left.

Similarly, I feel like that same “lesson” if you can call it a “lesson” is being made with the Orange County Legislature, Eddie Diana, and the insanity of the government center.  Ditto Valley View, and we can go back if you like to the $180,000 county taxpayer pocket money for Diana’s buddy Carchietta, the site selection of OCCC Newburgh, etc.*  Obviously, it is totally corrupt, but no one is going to stop them or even point out (with occasional exceptions, such as Chris Mckenna, or the inimitable Gerard F. Boss, Jr.) the total corruption, but the dominant group just goes about their business with a “fork if I care” attitude that is unquestioned by any serious predators.  They have no predators, that is the problem, no one licks their lips and says, oh here is a tasty little snack, some asinine lying legislators who are probably padding their own pockets too.  Or maybe they’re so brainwashed and stupid they’re doing it for free, I could certainly believe it.

Sometimes I take a nibble but that’s about as much as I can do.  My appetite is bigger than my stomach.

——–

*About which: there are so many parallels to the disastrous OCCC Newburgh site selection, to the government center disaster, that I do not know where to begin, but here goes.  Leigh Benton in the same key position in both situations, Diana’s double.  I try not to hold it against Mr. Benton that he never responded to my certified letter to him several years ago now, there are plenty of other more substantial reasons to distrust him.  The classic move of selecting a consulting firm that will tell you what you want to hear.  Check.  How is it not parallel?  In October’s 2006 legislative vote the majority of the legislators knew that the Carchietta choice didn’t pass the smell test—and voted so.  I do not see as clear a groundswell of supporters as there were in 2006 for the government center.  Granted, the majority of the legislators did vote for renovation.  But all these pathetic back-door moves, i.e. asking for three options including demolition, are being allowed to happen.  Legislators, what are you so afraid of?  Do you need smell-hance samples just to be sure what’s going on is rotten?  Go for it!

Land Bank: It’s Just the Beginning

Wednesday afternoon the Newburgh Community Land Bank held their monthly meeting.  Their Consulting Director, Madeline Fletcher, as well as their consultant from Pace’s Land Use Law center, Jessica Bacher, met with me prior to the meeting and they responded to some of the concerns I raised in my earlier post, as well as answering some additional questions.

Size of Land Bank

Fletcher pointed out that the land bank does indeed include the entire City of Newburgh.  Carefully reading the application submitted to ESDC supports this.  While it is true that a small section of the city was chosen as the “target area,” nothing prevents the land bank from operating city-wide.

The subject of the size of land banks came up during the board meeting.  Allan Aztrott brought up the possibility of collaborating with the county, although this remained a point of speculation.

Targeted Enforcement

In speaking to Fletcher and Bacher, I asked them what was meant by the commitment of the city, as described in the land bank application, “to concentrate its police and code enforcement efforts in this target area to ensure the success of the Land Bank’s operations.” They described that what usually happens is “passive” enforcement, where code enforcement responds to calls for help.  What  concentrated or targeted enforcement might entail is more proactive approaches to code enforcement.  The women explained that this has not happened yet, and that two consultants are completing a study of the city currently to make recommendations on code enforcement, and that this study will help shape future actions.  They did not give me an explanation of what targeted police enforcement would be.

Revenue Streams

While I bemoaned the lack of pursuing alternative revenue streams, such as collection of tax liens, Ms. Bacher provided the explanation that Newburgh actually does a very good job of servicing tax liens, and thus this would be an unlucrative option for the Land Bank to pursue.

Another potential source of diversified income would be rental money.  During the board meeting, a substantial portion of the discussion was focused on the HOGAR properties, which are now in foreclosure and subject to legal action by the city, Key Bank, and the county.  These are a few properties on Dubois Street that were rehabbed and put on the market with great fanfare a few years ago.  The city had invested several hundred thousand in a Restore grant at the time.  After the pending legal actions are settled, the land bank’s hope would be to possibly acquire the properties and, due to the soft market, use them as rentals.

Budget

In a follow-up email, I asked Ms. Fletcher if she could share a more itemized budget than the brief and confusing one in the ESDC application.  In our pre-board meeting, she did confirm that the land bank had indeed received a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.  In my email, I had asked specifically for something that would breakdown what the separate in-kind contributions were from the various entities (city, Greater Newburgh Partnership, and St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.)

Ms. Fletcher responded that, “At this point, we do not have a better budget to offer. We are working on breaking things down further and will be happy to provide when we’ve firmed it up better.  We still have to figure out exactly what consulting we need, etc.  As we go, our expenditures will be more refined and we will firm up the budget.  At this point, we know roughly what resources have, we have to fine tune how they are allocated as our expenses become clearer.”

Cryptic Parting Remarks

As I left the table with Fletcher and Bacher just before 4 p.m., as our interview was concluded and the board meeting was about to begin, Allan Aztrott introduced himself to me and provided a one page summary of the hospital’s 2011 budget.  I’m not sure what I was supposed to do with this, and anyway, if you are interested in the hospital’s finances you can access their tax returns from the Foundation Center’s 990 Finder and/or an even more complete accounting statement from the NYS Attorney General’s Charities Bureau website (although both sites have the information posted for 2010, not 2011 yet.  Keep checking.)

Mr. Aztrott provided some pleasant facts about the hospital and then asked why the Newburgh Parking Tribunal had finally passed in Albany.  “I don’t know,” I said.  And he pointed out that it was the hospital’s lobbyist that lobbied for it.

Sure enough, you can look up the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics’ website, click on “view a filing,” and with a little effort you can find all the bills that the hospital and/or the Greater Newburgh Partnership has lobbied for, and the lobbyists they employ.

Mr. Aztrott also bragged that the hospital provided grant writing services to various city grants, including the Fire Department and FEMA-related.

Should this mean that the hospital owns the city and dictates public policy?

It is a delicate question.  The city council was distraught at Thursday night’s meeting when the subject of PILOTs came up.  Having gone to school in New Haven at Yale, I am familiar with the intricate relationship that can exist between a major nonprofit and its city, which in this case includes a PILOT.

But contributions can take many forms.  Is grantwriting ongoing?  How much, and can we attribute a dollar amount to that?  Certainly this is a contribution, which our anemic city budgets appreciate.

The fine line is somewhere around doing things that help our own neighborhood and interests, and doing things that are in the interest of the entire city.  That line is muddied when government is outsourced behind-the-scenes, or one interest is so powerful it becomes a strangling force on our council members and government.  Then democracy goes out the window, and some other form of human organization takes over.

 

The Look of Love is in Newburgh Land Bank’s Eye

I can hardly wait to hold you, feel my arms around you
How long I have waited
Waited just to love you, now that I have found you
Don’t ever go
Don’t ever go
I love you so

FIVE Thoughts on the Newburgh Community Land Bank (NCLB)

1. Is it big enough? 
 Probably not.

While the Land Bank promoters bragged that the Newburgh Community Land Bank was the only municipal-based land bank of the five that were approved by the New York’s Empire State Development Corporation earlier this year, this might not be something to be proud of.   According to land bank experts Dan Kildee and Amy Hovey from Michigan’s Center for Community Progress, larger land banks are better than smaller land banks as they allow for a greater diversity of holdings.  (Kildee and Hovey gave presentations April 14 and 15 of 2010 here in the City of Newburgh in conjunction with PACE’s Land Use Law Center.)  As Ms. Hovey explained in a recent email,

It is always best to have a diverse inventory of properties with the land bank jurisdiction.  The diversity allows the land bank to balance the properties/projects that provide a return with those that cost more than they can generate during the sale.  If a land bank only take[s] the properties that do not provide any revenue the land bank with not be sustainable.  (Emphasis mine.)

The NCLB does not seem to have learned this lesson yet.  Instead of encompassing the entire city, which after all is only about four square miles, the land bank is narrowed, according to its application, to include “to the North by Gidney Avenue and Clinton Street, to the East by Grand Street, to the South by Broadway, and to the West by Dubois Street.”

This is a minuscule area, where blighted properties tend to have similar problems–not much diversity here, although it is within the catchement area and includes the site of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, whose CEO Allan Atzrott sits on the board of the NCLB.

The four land banks approved by ESDC other than Newburgh all contained at least a county, or a combination of cities and a county.  Newburgh should at a minimum expand the land bank to include the entire city, if not consider partnering with Orange County and/or neighboring towns.

Unfortunately, ESDC admitted it was impressed by “letters of support” the Newburgh Land Bank lined up (if you download their application, supporters run on for ten pages, although none speak with any depth as to what the land bank will do or how it will help.)  Does ESDC know as little about land banks as Newburgh?  And how did PACE’s representatives support this mote of a land bank?  Shouldn’t they know better?

2. Is it financially grounded?  Probably not.

One of the things that impressed me in the presentation in April 2010 by the Center for Community Progress was that land banks can be sustainable.  By having diverse projects, they can balance the gut rehabs that require so much more investment with other kinds of development projects.  Additionally, revenue can be made through the collecting funds on properties with tax liens, and other financial penalties; collection of rent, as well as sales of properties.

Looking at the NCLB’s application’s budget on pages 40-41, about half of the land banks revenues are grouped together into “Grants or In-kind services,” amounting to $220,000 of $450,000 total for the first year.  A footnote attempts to clarify that

* As of 3/28/2012 NCLB has secured $30,000 from the Ford Foundation, plus an additional $100,000 commitment from Ford Foundation, $80,000 Planning Fund from City of Newburgh.
** In-kind donation of professional services from the City of Newburgh, The Greater Newburgh Partnership and St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital

The $220,000 amount does not include an “existing City of Newburgh grant” of $75,000.  But it is totally baffling what is going on here financially.  How much, exactly, is being provided by the city vs. the Greater Newburgh Partnership vs. St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital? When does the $100,000 from the Ford Foundation kick in? Was the $80,000 from the “Planning Fund from City of Newburgh” approved by resolution by the city council?

What is clear from the budget is that the NCLB is relying on grants for funding.  This is unfortunate, because some of the other types of sources of revenue are what will help to make the land bank sustainable, such as collecting on tax liens.  This is, in a sense, a “Michigan model,” in that land banks there like the Flint and Genesee County land banks participate in those kind of revenue streams.  In contrast, I asked Steve Gawlik of ESDC whether any of the other New York land banks were making use of tax liens as part of their revenue stream, and he said no.

While it could be that these new land banks are simply getting started, in the long run, going after tax liens would help round out the revenue streams as well as improving the general property climate.  The “Foreclosing Governmental Unit” (FGU)–in this case, the City of Newburgh, would not necessarily be a competitor for such funds if they are not being zealously collected in the first place (a question for the city council.)

3. Does it have the interests of the whole city at heart?
  Probably not.

Well, since geographically it’s not even four chambers of a heart, barely a single chamber of the city, we must ask ourselves, whose interests are best represented in carving out this portion of a cardiac patient?

Maybe we could spread some of the love around?  Or at least some of the defibrillators.

4. It’s just like Habitat for Humanity!
  Right? Wrong.

Center for Community Progress’s  Hovey clarified by email the difference:

There are many differences between a land bank and a Habitat for Humanity
1. Habitat only deals with affordable housing.  Land Banks can be involved in a diversity of housing projects, as well as, commercial, industrial, recreational and agricultural projects.
2. Habitats do not hold property for long periods of time.  Land Banks are created to hold all types of properties tax free until which time the market is ready to absorb the property into the market.
3. Habitats are private nonprofits whose mission is to create affordable housing for low income families. Land Bank are mostly public entities that help a community meets it land use goals.  A Land Bank transaction [is] transparent and open to public comment.

5.  Is it sustainable?  Not yet.

But perhaps with some changes it could be!

Spot the difference

2011 MA Development Perkins Eastman rendering of Broadway front

 

2009 Robert Carchietta Perkins Eastman rendering of Broadway front

2011 MA Development Perkins Eastman rendering of Broadway side view

 

2009 Robert Carchietta Perkins Eastman rendering of Broadway side view

The 2011 images (the top ones) come from a submission by M.A. Development and Perkins Eastman in answer to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) put out by the City of Newburgh.  To view information about all six respondents, click here.

The 2009 images (the bottom ones) come from a submission by Robert Carchietta and Perkins Eastman in answer to a Request for Qualifications issued by the City in 2009.

The contact person for M.A. Development, Mr. Henry, did not respond to a request for comment as to how his renderings appear to be the same as Mr. Carchietta’s, or whether Mr. Carchietta is in any way involved with his team.

Stephen Yates, Senior Associate and Director of Communications for Perkins Eastman, deferred to Mr. Henry, writing that “I will have to defer to Joseph Henry at M.A. Development on these questions, unfortunately we are not able to answer them.”

Mid-Broadway Business District on the agenda for Thursday

According to the Work Session tentative agenda, four developers for the Mid-Broadway Business District will give presentations Thursday night, not including M.A. Development.

Included in that tentative agenda is a memo from Planning Department Director Ed Lynch about the process of selecting four developers from the original six.

M.A. Development was dismissed for being overly ambitious, including the acquisition of properties surrounding the city’s proposed property.  Mr. Lynch writes,

The developer stated that if it was unable to acquire the 16+ privately owned properties at fair market value, the City needed to use its eminent domain powers.  The exercise of eminent domain powers without the benefit of an Urban Renewal Area designation has not been successful in New York State.  The creation of an Urban Renewal Area and the inclusion of privately owned properties was viewed as being undesirable.

Eminent domain was also one of the contentious issues when Carchietta’s lot (now named the Mid-Broadway Business District) was under consideration for the campus of SUNY Orange in 2006.  That year, the City hired Perkins Eastman to do its own site selection evaluation.

Who’s on the shortlist

Still in consideration is Vincent Cappelletti’s Newburgh Commercial Development Corporation, even though their submission was only two pages.  Cappelletti made a proposal in 2009, which was thrown out, along with Carchietta’s and Jerry Sanchez’s.

The other three developers who will be presenting are first place Wallison Corp. (Bronx) second place Poko Partners LLC (Port Chester NY)  with The Kretchmer Companies, LLC (New York City) and third place Mill Street Partners, LLC (New York City) with RECAP (Middletown) and CPC Resources, Inc. (New York City).

Additional information on these developers is available here.

 

8.5.11: Update on Perkins Eastman Renderings

I have been informed that architects generally retain intellectual property rights of their plans, and that a client will pay for a one-time use.  While it is impossible to know what happened in the case above, since the involved parties are declining comment, theoretically one possibility would be Perkins Eastman found a new developer, MA Development, after Mr. Carchietta’s attempt didn’t pan out, and simply recycled that work.  Thus, it may be the case that Mr. Carchietta has no connection to the 2011 proposal.

Broadway’s emptiest lot gets six proposals

Mid-Broadway Redevelopment Opportunity

In response to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) issued by the City of Newburgh April 19, 2011, six developers submitted proposals and background information about their previous projects.  A committee was formed in May to review the proposals after the deadline of May 20, 2011 passed.  According to the original RFQ, review of the letters of interest and a short list would be complete in two to four weeks, with a schedule and interview two weeks after that.  While the proposals did not appear as a tentative agenda item for tomorrow night’s meeting on the city’s site, that agenda is subject to change.

In an earlier post here, I pointed out that environmental concerns were raised in the city’s RFQ.  None of the responding developers addressed this issue.

Below are very short summaries of the proposals.  Submissions ranged from 2 pages to a 1 inch thick binder.

1. Hudson Valley Property Group, LLC. (New City) with L & M Development Partners, Inc. (New York City)

Download submission excerpts

HVPG Co-Managing Member is Andrew Cavaluzzi, who is currently working on the 91-95 Broadway project.
Proposal: No specifics mentioned, apart from a Concept Site Plan sketch (see page 9) that shows a retail facade on Broadway, building setbacks, and a courtyard.  Residential units can be inferred from the descriptions of past projects.

2. Newburgh Commercial Development Corporation, Inc. (Newburgh)

Download submission excerpts

Vincent Cappelletti is President of NCDC and has redeveloped 600 Broadway and done extensive work on 280/290 Broadway.
Proposal: Construct “23,000 sq ft of retail to include space for an urban supermarket with a second floor to accommodate possibly a trade school, medical offices, or office space.”

3. Walison Corp. (Bronx)

Download submission excerpts

Proposal: Phase 1: “Development of a two-story commercial building fronting Broadway that will house a supermarket and a smaller retail establishment on the ground floor.  A community facility on the second floor will provide professional office space to medical and healthcare providers… Walison Corp. is interested in constructing a 40,000 SF 2-story Commercial Building fronting Broadway on 14 of the 16 City owned lots between Johnston and Lander Street.  1st floor: 15,000 SF Supermarket, plus 5,000 SF retail space.  2nd floor: 20,000 SF Community Facility featuring Medical Professional office space.”

4. M.A. Development LLC.  (Carmel, NY)

Download submission excerpts

Proposal: “A. Residential/Retail (SuperMarket)… 20,000 s.f. (estimated) supermarket and approximately 130 market rate condominiums on Broadway of six stories which will include studios and one through three bedroom units… B. Parking Facility… This will be a six story facility with approximately 600 parking spaces… C. Community Center… In cooperation with the City of Newburgh we will determine the size, scope and contents of the center, to facilitate its possible uses, i.e. gym facility, senior citizen use… D. Center of Excellence… This will be a 100,000 s.f. (approx.), six floor professional building housing among others, a dental laboratory/CadCam Technology Center, a Dialysis Facility, a Clinical Cardiovascular Therapeutic area and an Institute for clinical Training of Dentists and Staff.”

5. Poko Partners LLC (Port Chester NY)  with The Kretchmer Companies, LLC (New York City)

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Proposal: “1. Townhouses on Johnston Street: We would recommend a three-story building type that places 2-story townhouse over 1-story flat units at the ground level along Johnston Street…  2. Mixed Use Retail Residential on Broadway.  Along Broadway, we propose a five-story mixed use building with retail at grade along Broadway and multifamily apartments above.  Parking under the building… would allow for four stories of housing above, which provides an increase in density without overwhelming the adjacent 4 story built fabric… 3. Site #2 Parking.  The lot on Lander Street would best be maintained as additional parking for the Broadway retail and residential…”

6. Mill Street Partners, LLC (New York City) with RECAP (Middletown) and CPC Resources, Inc. (New York City)

download submission excerpts part 1 download submission excerpts part 2

Proposal: Phase 1: Broadway parcel – mixed-use development consisting of 18,000SF of first floor retail with residential rental units on the upper floors.  5 story or 6 story options.  Also 18,000SF full-service supermarket on the first floor.  Phase 2: Johnston St. parcel – 13 two family home ownership sites.
Project references include: John Ebert, Orange County Office of Community Development, for CPC; Congressman Maurice Hinchey and State Senator William Larkin for RECAP, Inc.

Developers warned of environmental concerns

The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is out today, published on the city’s website, for the “Mid-Broadway Redevelopment Opportunity.” The property in question was formerly owned by Robert Carchietta and sits on the block bordered by Broadway, Johnston and Lander Streets.

The RFQ is 16 pages long and includes an overview of Newburgh and key “advantages” to the site including proximity to the waterfront, SUNY Orange, St. Luke’s Hospital, Mount Saint Mary College, and others.  It concludes with the submission requirements on page 13:

Submission Requirements
A two-to-four page summary cover letter briefly summarizing all of the following items is required. You may attach additional information as you deem appropriate. Site plans and detailed financial pro formas are not required at this time.
A. Development team description/resources.
B. Financial Strength and Responsibility
C. Team experience:
Previous projects:
Project name, location, photos, construction value, year, team member’s role in project.
Project references (minimum 2 from financial institu- tions and 2 from clients).
Key team member resumes.
D. Proposed project concept and schedule
Public/private partnership approach
Design concepts, users, developer’s approach and phasing. Financing, funding, marketing and roles of public and private sectors.

Then, almost as an afterthought, on page 15 potential developers are warned of this:

Is this open government?


City of Newburgh Industrial Development Agency:

Mayor Nicholas Valentine, Chairman
Councilwoman Regina Angelo
Martin Boone
Councilman George Bowles, Jr.
Councilman Salvatore Cracolici
Councilwoman Mary Ann Leo-Dickinson
Darren McCurry

On July 31, 2006, four documents were recorded and filed with the Orange County Clerk’s Office in Goshen, New York.

Document 1: Deed transferred from the City of Newburgh Industrial Development Agency to 132 Broadway Associates, LLC

File #20060082551, Deed C/BK 12218 PG 0527, Recorded/Filed 07/31/2006/14:31:07 [Bold emphasis below is added by The Newburgh Advocate]

WITNESSETH, that the Grantor [CITY OF NEWBURGH INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY], in consideration of $10.00, and other good and valuable consideration, paid by the Grantee [132 BROADWAY ASSOCIATES, LLC], does hereby remise, release and quitclaim upon the Grantee, is successors, or assigns of the Grantor forever,

ALL those certain plots, pieces or parcels of land, with the buildings and improvements thereon erected, situate, lying and being in the State of New York, County of Orange, and the City of Newburgh, more particularly described on Schedule A…

Schedule A lists:

1. 8-12 Lander St. (SBL:30-3-22)
2. 14-16 Lander St. (SBL: 30-3-21)
3. 132-134 Broadway (SBL: 30-3-24)
4. 136 Broadway (SBL: 30-3-25)
5. 138 Broadway (SBL: 30-3-26)
6. 140 Broadway (SBL: 30-3-27)
7. 142 Broadway (SBL: 30-3-28)
8. 142A Broadway (SBL: 30-3-29)
9. 144 Broadway (SBL: 30-3-30)
10. 148 Broadway (SBL: 30-3-32)
11. 6-8 Johnston St. (SBL: 30-3-33)
12. 14A-16 Johnston St. (SBL: 30-3-37)

The Grantee [132 Broadway Associates] herein shall undertake, at its sole cost and expense, to construct a building (or buildings) with approximately one hundred thousand (100,000) square feet in the aggregate suitable for commercial, light industrial, office, educational, and/or retail use, or a combination thereof, in accordance with the performance schedule attached hereto and made a part here of as Schedule B together with an area of public space approved by the City of Newburgh (such construction is hereinafter referred to as the “PROJECT”). IDA shall cooperate fully with the Grantee herein in any and all applications, proceedings and appeals made or prosecuted by or on behalf of the Grantee herein in connection with the PROJECT, and IDA agrees to execute and deliver all documents, consents or authorizations reasonably required of IDA by any governmental authority with respect thereto.

Schedule B states:

PROJECT Progress Benchmarks

1. Complete demolition of buildings – 90 days from June 30, 2006.
2. Receipt of Planning, Zoning and ARC approvals – 180 days from June 30, 2006
(GRANTEE [132 Broadway Associates, LLC]) must apply for same within 60 days of June 30, 2006).
3. Issuance of Building Permit – 9 months from June 30, 2006.
4. Issuance of Certificate of Occupancy for all of PROJECT – 30 months from June 30, 2006. A temporary Certificate of Occupancy shall be acceptable provided it is replaced with a permanent Certificate of Occupancy within sixty (60) days of its issuance.

CITY OF NEWBURGH INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
By: [signed] Robert H. McKenna
Administrative Director

As of the date which is thirty (30) months from June 30, 2006, if it is determined upon an inspection by the City of Newburgh Code Compliance Supervisor that the performance requirements of said Schedule B have not been completed timely or the completion time for such has not been extended by IDA in writing, the Grantee [132 Broadway Associates, LLC] herein shall, within ten (10) business days fro the service of a notice of said determination upon it… reconvey good and marketable title to the property described in Schedule A herein to IDA.

…TOGETHER with all right, title and interest if any, of [the IDA] in an to any streets and roads abutting the above described premises to the center lines thereof,
TOGETHER with the appurtenances and all the estate and rights of the Grantor in and to the said premises,
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the premises herein granted unto the Grantee, its heirs, successors and assigns forever.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Grantor has hereunto set its hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Document 2: Mortgage between MORTGAGOR: 132 Broadway Associates, LLC; Gemma Development Company, LLC; 10 Johnston Street Associates, LLC; RAC Development of Newburgh, LLC; AND the City of Newburgh Industrial Development Agency and MORTGAGEE: Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company
File #20060082552, Mort/BK 12218 PG 0534, Recorded/Filed 07/31/2006/14:31:07 [Bold emphasis below is added by The Newburgh Advocate]

(b) The obligations and agreements of the Agency contained herein or therein shall not constitute or give rise to an obligation of the State of New York or the City of Newburgh, New York, and neither the State of New York or the City of Newburgh, New York shall be liable thereon… Neither the members of the Agency, nor any person executing this Mortgage on its behalf shall be liable personally under this Mortgage nor recourse shall be had for the payment of the principal or interest on the indebtedness evidence by the note or any claim based on the mortgage or otherwise in respect hereof, or based upon or in respect to this Mortgage or any modification of or supplement hereto against any past, present or future member, officer, agent or employee, as such, of the Agency or any successor or political subdivision, either directly or through the Agency or any such successor, all such liability of such members, officers, agents (except for the Borrower), servants and employees being, to the extent permitted by law, expressly waived and released by the acceptance hereof and as part of the consideration for the execution of this Mortgage. Any judgment or decree shall be enforceable against the Authority only to the extent of its interest in the property and any such judgment shall not be subject to execution on or by a lien on assets of the agency other than its interest in the property.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this Mortgage has been duly executed by Mortgagor the day and year first above written. [June 30, 2006]
132 BROADWAY ASSOCIATES, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Manager/Member

GEMMA DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Member

10 JOHNSTON STREET ASSOCIATES, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Member

RAC DEVELOPMENT OF NEWBURGH, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Member

37. PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE AGENCY. Notwithstanding any other terms or conditions contained in this Mortgage:
(a) This Mortgage is execute by the Agency solely for the purpose of subjecting its rights to the rights of the Mortgagee and for no other purpose. All representations, covenants, warranties are hereby deemed to have been given by the Borrower and not by the Agency.

27. (c) Upon the happening of an Event of Default, whether or not foreclosure proceedings have been instituted, Mortgagor shall, upon demand, surrender possession of the Premises to Mortgagee.

26. ENVIRONMENTAL, REPRESENTATIONS, WARRANTIES AND INDEMNIFICATION. Mortgagor represents and warrants, and continues to represent and warrant as long as this Mortgage is in effect, to Mortgagee that (a) to the best of Mortgagee’s knowledge, Mortgagor and the Premises are in compliance with each statute, regulation or other law and each judgment, order or award of any court, agency or other governmental authority or of any arbitrator (individually an “Environmental Requirement”) relating to the protection of any water, water vapor, land surface or subsurface, air, fish, wildlife, biota or other natural resources or governing the use, storage, treatment, generation, transportation, processing, handling, production or disposal of any chemical, natural or synthetic substance, waste, pollutant or contaminant (collectively “Regulated Materials”), (b) Mortgagor has not been charged with, or has received any notice that such Mortgagor is under investigation for, the failure to comply with any Environmental Requirement, nor has Mortgagor received any notice that Mortgagor has or may have any liability or responsibility under any Environmental Requirement with respect to the Premises or otherwise, (c) to the best of Mortgagee’s knowledge, the Premises have ever been used for (i) the storage, treatment, generation, transportation, processing, handling, production or disposal of Regulated Materials, except as permitted by law, (ii) a landfill or other waste disposal site or (iii) military purposes, (d) no underground storage tanks are located on the Premises, (e) the environmental media at the Premises do not contain Regulated Materials beyond any legally permitted level, (f) to the best of the Mortgagee’s knowledge, there has never been any release, threatened release, migration or uncontrolled presence of any Regulated Materials on, at or from the Premises or, to the knowledge of the Mortgagor, within the immediate vicinity of the Premises and (g) Mortgagor has not received any notice of any such release, threatened release, migration or uncontrolled presence… If at any time Mortgagor obtains any evidence or information which suggests that potential environmental problems may exist on, at or about the Premises, Mortgagee may request Mortgagor, at Mortgagor’s own cost and expense, to conduct and complete investigations, studies, sampling and testing with respect to the Premises requested by Mortgagee. Mortgagor shall promptly furnish to Mortgagee copies of all such investigations, studies, samplings and tests. Mortgagor shall (a) conduct and complete all such investigations, studies, samplings and testing, and all remedial, removal and other actions necessary with respect to the Premises, in accordance with all applicable Environmental Requirements and promptly furnish to Mortgagee copies of all documents generated in connection therewith and (b) defend, reimburse, indemnify and hold harmless Mortgagee, its employees, agents, officers and directors, from and against any claims, demands, penalties, fines, liabilities, settlements, damages, costs or expenses of whatever kind or nature, known or unknown, contingent or otherwise, arising out of, or in any way related to, the violation of, or other liability or responsibility under, any Environmental Requirements, or the release, threatened release, migration or uncontrolled presence of any Regulated Materials on, at or from the Premises including attorney and consultant fees, investigation and laboratory fees, court costs and litigation expenses…


CITY OF NEWBURGH INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

By: [signed] Robert H. McKenna
Administrative Director

WITNESSETH, to secure (a) the payment of indebtedness in the principal sum of ONE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND ($1,483,000.00) DOLLARS, lawful money of the United States, together with interest thereon and other charges with respect thereto, to be paid according to certain demand note, dated on or about June 30, 2006, made and delivered by Mortgagor to Mortgagee or (the “Note”)… Mortgagor hereby mortgages to Mortgagee, as continuing and collateral security for the payment of any and all indebtedness, liabilities and obligations of Mortgagor to Mortgagee… the premises described on the attached Schedule A. [Note; same properties listed in Schedule A above.]

Document 3: General Assignment of Rents between ASSIGNOR: 132 Broadway Associates, LLC, and ASSIGNEE: Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company
File #20060082554, A/LR/BK 12218 PG 0601, Recorded/Filed 07/31/2006/14:31:07 [Bold emphasis below is added by The Newburgh Advocate]

WHEREAS, Assignee desires to grant Assignor a conditional license to collect and use the income derived form the Premises and to take certain leasing actions in the ordinary course of business.

4. …monies in the amount of $1,483,000.00 were loaned thereon and the mortgage tax was duly paid.
Mortgage tax paid $15,571.50.

4. LICENSE TO TAKE CERTAIN LEASING ACTIONS.

(b) The license granted by Assignee under this Section 4 does not extend to… (iv) the grant of any option to purchase any part of the Premises or any right of first refusal or (v) any Leasing Action that results in a Lease (A) to an affiliate of any Assignor, (B) with a rental rate which is less than a reasonable market rental rate, (C) permitting prepayment of rent more than one month in advance or (D) demising more than twenty percent (20%) of the rentable space of the Premises or such higher or lower percentage as Assignee may from time to time agree to in writing…

255 AFFIDAVIT OF EXEMPTION, GENERAL ASSIGNMENT OF RENTS, June 30, 2006

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Assignor has executed this Assignment as of the day and year first above written.

132 BROADWAY ASSOCIATES
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Manager/Member

Document 4: Mortgage Consolidation Modification and Extension Agreement between 132 Broadway Associates, LLC; Gemma Development Company, LLC; 10 Johnston Street Associates, LLC; RAC Development of Newburgh, LLC; the City of Newburgh Industrial Development Agency AND Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company
File #20060082553, M AG/BK 12218 PG 0565, Recorded/Filed 07/31/2006/14:31:07 [Bold emphasis below is added by The Newburgh Advocate]

WITNESSETH:

WHEREAS, the Mortgagee is the owner and holder for the value of the following Mortgages, together with the notes or other evidences of indebtedness secured thereby, to wit:

1. Mortgage made by Mortgagor to Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, in the principal sum of $30,000.00 dated May 24, 2005 and recorded in the Orange County Clerk’s Office on June 6, 2005, in Liber 11866 of Mortgages at Page 377, on which there is now due and owing the unpaid principal sum of $30,000.00.

2. Mortgage made by Mortgagor to Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, in the principal sum of $293,500.00 dated June 23, 2004 and recorded in the Orange County Clerk’s Office on July 14, 2004, in Liber 11554 of Mortgages at Page 911, on which there is now due and owing the unpaid principal sum of $293,500.00.

3. Mortgage made by Mortgagor to Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, in the principal sum of $293,500.00 dated June 23, 2004, and recorded in the Orange County Clerk’s Office on July 14, 2004, in Liber 11554 of Mortgages at Page 911, on which there is now due and owing the unpaid principal sum of $293,500.00.

4. Mortgage given by the Mortgagor to 132 Broadway Associates, LLC bearing even date herewith in the principal sum of $1,483,000.00 which is intended to be recorded simultaneously herewith.

WHEREAS, the Mortgagor has executed and delivered to the Mortgagee its Restated Non-Revolving Grid Note in the principal sum of $2,100,000.00 which Note is secured by the mortgages referred to and consolidated herein, with interest as stated in said Note and to be paid in accordance with said Note…

3. …a certain Mortgage Modification and Extension Agreement dated as of June 30, 2006, was entered into between MANUFACTURERS AND TRADERS TRUST COMPANY, as mortgagee, and 132 BROADWAY ASSOCIATES, LLC, as mortgagor, and is to be recorded simultaneously herewith, with regard to the following mortgages:

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and the mutual covenants and agreements of the parties, and for the purpose of carrying out the intention above expressed, the Mortgages and the Mortgagor hereby mutually covenant and agree as follows:

That the liens of the said Mortgages, hereinabove mentioned, hereby are spread, consolidated and coordinated so that from and after the date hereof the same are hereby consolidated into one Mortgage covering the premises herein described, running concurrently as one Mortgage, and constituting a single first lien upon the premises mortgage in the amount of $2,100,000.00…

CITY OF NEWBURGH INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
By: [signed] Robert H. McKenna
Administrative Director

2. RESTATED NON-REVOLVING GRID NOTE

Simultaneously herewith, the Mortgagor shall make and execute a Consolidated Mortgage Note in the principal amount of TWO MILLION ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND NO/100 ($2,100,000.00) DOLLARS to the Mortgagee.

RAC DEVELOPMENT OF NEWBURGH, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Member

3. MATURITY DATE

All of the principal, interest and any other charges that are owned under the Mortgages, and the Restated Non-Revolving Grid Note must be paid in full by December 31, 2006.

10 JOHNSTON STREET ASSOCIATES, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Member

36. MISCELLANEOUS. This Mortgage is absolute and unconditional…

GEMMA DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Member

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this Mortgage has been duly executed by Mortgagor the day and year first above written.

In the Presence of:

MAUFACTURERS AND TRADERS TRUST COMPANY
By: [signed] Mark Stellwag, Admin. Vice President

132 BROADWAY ASSOCIATES, LLC
By: [signed] Robert Carchietta, Manager/Member

255 AFFIDAVIT, MORTGAGE MODIFICATION AND EXTENSION AGREEMENT

4. That new money in the amount of ONE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND AND NO/100 ($1,483,000.00) DOLLARS was loaned thereon and the mortgage tax in the amount of $15,571.50 was duly paid.

1. Mortgage made by Mortgagor to Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, in the principal sum of $30,000.00 dated May 24, 2005 and recorded in the Orange County Clerk’s Office on June 6, 2005, in Liber 11866 of Mortgages at Page 377, on which there is now due and owing the unpaid principal sum of $30,000.00. MORTGAGE TAX PAID $315.00
2. Mortgage made by Mortgagor to Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, in the principal sum of $293,500.00 dated June 23, 2004 and recorded in the Orange County Clerk’s Office on July 14, 2004, in Liber 11554 of Mortgages at Page 911, on which there is now due and owing the unpaid principal sum of $293,500.00. MORTGAGE TAX PAID $3,082.00
3. Mortgage made by Mortgagor to Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, in the principal sum of $293,500.00 dated June 23, 2004, and recorded in the Orange County Clerk’s Office on July 14, 2004, in Liber 11554 of Mortgages at Page 911, on which there is now due and owing the unpaid principal sum of $293, 500.00. MORTGAGE TAX PAID $3,082
4. Mortgage given by the Mortgagor to 132 Broadway Associates, LLC bearing even date herewith in the principal sum of $1,483,000.00 which is intended to be recorded simultaneously herewith.

All notes and Mortgages were combined, consolidated and made equal and coordinate liens on the above-described premises without priority of one over the other to constitute one first Note and Mortgage and single lien for the total sum of TWO MILLION ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND NO/100 ($2,100,000.00) DOLLARS upon said premises, which shall be paid with interest, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the said note and Mortgage.

See also the article in this week’s Mid-Hudson Times.