Site plan review for a 43-unit luxury apartment project at the former Mariani Gardens site in Armonk could begin early next year if a bankruptcy court judge agrees to a settlement between the parties .
Attorney Anthony Veneziano told the North Castle Town board last Wednesday that the directors were due to appear before Judge Robert Drain in the US bankruptcy court in White Plains on November 19, where the deal is expected to be accepted. Veneziano has asked the board for a one-year extension of the special use permit, but officials decided to shorten the extension to three months pending the outcome of bankruptcy court proceedings.
“It’s not a guarantee, but another builder should really pay a bit,” Veneziano said of the likelihood of the financial problem being solved. “That’s the only factor someone should bid on.”
However, the lawyer acting as the trustee of the new partnership ordered the judge to sign it, so both sides eagerly await the case to progress, he said.
Personal disputes between the partners as well as the apparent financial problems of Mark Mariani, one of three members of the 45 Bedford Road LLC partnership who acted as plaintiff, have delayedSite plan review from the controversial June 2019 zoning of the 4.1-acre site on Bedford Road. Later in 2019, the applicant also received a special permit from the city council.
Veneziano said the mortgage for half of the partnership that belonged to his two other members has been paid off. On November 19, the parties hope that the remaining 50% of the mortgage belonging to Mariani will be released from Louisiana bankruptcy in favor of the new entity, NCD Acquisitions, he said.
The new six-member partnership seeks to continue reviewing the site plan in the hopes of building the project as approved.
Veneziano refused to disclose the financial arrangements between the players following a question from city councilor Jose Berra.
Council members mostly agreed that an extension of the special use permit was warranted, but were hesitant to allow a full year with the property still in motion. Councilor Barry Reiter suggested 60 days, but with that period ending just around the holidays, council opted for three months.
“I would be in favor of doing an extension; not a year but shorter, ”said city councilor Saleem Hussain. “That way we can see how it’s going and make the right decision. ”
Berra, who opposed both zoning and the special use permit, asked Veneziano whether the city would receive fast-track payments under the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) of 1.25 million bucks. Although the first $ 250,000 was paid in August 2019, the agreement included a provision for expedited payments in certain situations.
Homeowners are required to pay the full CBA to be able to build if they receive site approval.
Berra said the town should be protected if the new owners tried to evade some of the provisions.
“I’m really going to want assurances that there is a 100% transfer to interest and that the CBA will be accelerated,” said Berra, who ultimately abstained in last week’s vote. “I really think we should get it right now, which makes it a condition because we know transfers can be done in a certain way.”
Veneziano pushed back, saying that if, under the deal, the city was entitled to expedited payments, the new owners would comply.
“You cannot extort this money if you are not entitled to it,” Veneziano said. “That’s what it is, give me a million dollars, I’ll give you an extension.”
Supervisor Michael Schiliro said he was comfortable with the shorter extension. If the council did not extend the permit, the city would not be in an improved situation, he said.
Property has become neglected over the past couple of years as property disputes have unfolded.