The Town of Rye has named Dominick Neri, CEO of Neri’s Bakery Products, Inc., and Peter Shapiro, owner of The Capitol Theatre, as the preferred vendor for 10 Pearl St. and the parking lot across from it.
The Town of Rye has named Dominick Neri, CEO of Neri’s Bakery Products, Inc., and Peter Shapiro, owner of The Capitol Theatre, as the preferred vendor for 10 Pearl St. and the parking lot across from it.
After several bids, it is Dominick Neri, CEO of Neri's Bakery Products, Inc., and Peter Shapiro, owner of The Capitol Theatre, who will be the proud new owners of 10 Pearl St. and the parking lot across from it. Although the Town of Rye has not officially passed over ownership of the building that currently serves as Rye Town Hall and home for the town court, the town has accepted Neri-Capitol's offer of $1.85 million provided the town relocates its offices to another location, rendering 10 Pearl St. unnecessary.

"I think it will benefit both of us, two big companies here in the area," Neri said about the decision to team up with Shapiro and The Capitol Theatre.

Neri-Capitol was not the only potential purchaser for the property. Three other bidders put forward offers to the town. John M. Tanenbaum and Good Hill Partners LP bid $1.72 million and $1.71 million respectively. Jefferson Valley Realty also bid $1.85 million with a 10% down payment, the same as Neri et al.

The reason the town preferred Neri-Capitol's offer depended on the post-closing concessions from them. Unlike Jefferson Valley, Neri et al agreed to free rent until Dec. 31, 2013 with the possibility of an extension if the town had still not vacated 10 Pearl St. Jefferson Valley, on the other hand, agreed to no rent for the first six months, but if they had not relocated by that point, it would cost about $90,000 in back pay and an additional $15,000 plus taxes and utilities for each subsequent month.

The Town of Rye has named Dominick Neri, CEO of Neri's Bakery Products, Inc., and Peter Shapiro, owner of The Capitol Theatre, as the preferred vendor for 10 Pearl St. and the parking lot across from it.

While the town ideally wishes to be resettled by then, unforeseen circumstances would intervene and the town did not want to expose itself and its taxpayers to those possible fees.

Furthermore, Neri et al had less constraints including agreeing to accept the building and parking lot "as is," without requiring environmental or physical inspections.

Both Neri and The Capitol Theatre have made considerable investments in the community, Rye Town Deputy Supervisor Bill Villanova said at the special town meeting on Monday, July 1. "I personally support going forward with this relationship," he said, referring to them as "good corporate citizens, good neighbors."

When Neri et al take over ownership, their plans are currently focusing on the parking lot rather than the 10 Pearl St. building itself.

"We're looking to acquire other property in the area and try to put a development there for parking," Neri said. By building a multitiered structure on the parking lot, "we could ease up a lot of parking in this area because parking has been a problem for our patrons."

The bid for the property was not officially awarded at the meeting as it is all contingent on the town finding alternate housing for its offices and the court and then declaring 10 Pearl St. to be surplus property. The board will still have to vote to declare it surplus property and then officially sell it. In the meantime, however, the town will be able to move forward in negotiations with Neri-Capitol as the preferred vendor regarding the sale.

The 2013 assessed value of 10 Pearl St. was about $1.25 million and the parking lot another $400,000, said Mitchell Markowitz, the town assessor.

Selling town hall means the property will go back on the town's tax rolls, as it is currently tax exempt. This would generate about $68,000 in taxes each year to benefit Rye Town taxpayers, said Bishop Nowotnik, Rye Town facilities manager. About $38,000 would go to the Port Chester School District, $18,000 to the Village of Port Chester, $10,000 to Westchester County and the rest to the Town of Rye.

The town hopes to be able to rent space for less than $100,000, what it currently pays each year to operate 10 Pearl St. This way the savings will be yearly in addition to the one-time benefit from the sale. About $30,000, or 2% of the sale, will go to the mortgage broker New York Commercial Realty Group, hired in October 2012 to handle the lease or sale of all Rye Town properties, but the rest of the $1.85 million can be put towards running the town.

The town estimates it would need 5,000 square feet or less for current operations, not including the court facilities. The town court, which uses the meeting room as a courtroom and has judicial offices and a prisoner holding pen on the third floor of 10 Pearl St., is the hardest part of the equation to solve. The town is looking into options to host the court at a different location than where the town offices will be.

One possibility for the town's offices is at Gateway Plaza on South Main Street in Port Chester, but the space the town would like to rent is still being used by a current tenant, who has not officially put in notice to leave yet. As to 800 Westchester Ave. in Rye Brook, another possibility, they had not provided the town with floor plans or a total price as of the Monday meeting. The board requested that Nowotnik give them a deadline of Monday, July 8 to get the pertinent information to the board if they still wished to be considered a potential location.

The third contender the town is looking into is the Port Chester Village Hall at 222 Grace Church St. Since renting space at Port Chester Village Hall would assist one of the town's constituents, as well as consolidating local government at one location, both Supervisor Joe Carvin and Villanova hope that possibility pans out in the town's favor. In addition to 222 Grace Church St. hosting Port Chester's, State Senator George Latimer's and Assemblyman Steve Otis's offices, the facility also has parking attached to it, Villanova noted.

People who come to 10 Pearl St. have to cross a busy road and the building is not easily handicapped accessible, he said. Relocating to Grace Church Street would be "better for the public," Villanova added.