The Examiner

New Castle Approves Lease for Chappaqua Train Station Restaurant

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The New Castle Town Board approved a 10-year lease or town residents Erin and Peter Chases to operate a restaurant at the Chappaqua train station.
The New Castle Town Board approved a 10-year lease last week for town residents Erin and Peter Chases to operate a restaurant at the Chappaqua train station.

It looks like there will finally be a new restaurant at the Chappaqua train station by early summer.

The New Castle Town Board last Tuesday approved a 10-year lease for Chappaqua residents Erin and Peter Chase to operate a food establishment at the more than century-old town-owned train station building. The Chases, owners of bpc, a hospitality and management company that operates restaurants and hotels in the United States and abroad, are scheduled to transform the building’s old ticket booth into a morning concession for commuters by May while the main waiting room where the restaurant will operate is renovated, Peter Chase said.

The restaurant, which he hopes to open by early July, will feature soups and salads accompanied with chicken, fish and beef for the lunch hour and a restaurant with small entrees and small plates for the dinner crowd.

Chase said he and his wife were pleased they will be able to open the new establishment in the community where they live.

“We’ve had restaurants all over the world and to do something in our hometown is really special,” he said.

Terms of the lease released by the town call for the Chases to pay $3,300 a month in rent for the first year, with 3 percent annual increases. While the lease begins on July 1, they will receive the first three months rent free.

They will also pay nearly $1,500 a month to operate the morning concession stand starting May 1.

Last fall when the Chases made their presentation before the town board, they informed officials that the building’s electrical capacity was inadequate for a commercial enterprise and needed to be upgraded. As part of the lease agreement, the town agreed to do the work with the Chases paying $15,000 for materials.

Supervisor Robert Greenstein said he was enthusiastic about the new restaurant because it would provide commuters and area residents with a new dining option as well as helping to invigorate downtown Chappaqua, a current focus of the town board.

“We actually did it because we wanted to bring a restaurant to the train station so we can add to the vibrancy of downtown,” Greenstein said.

The board approved the lease by a 4-1 vote. Councilwoman Lisa Katz, the dissenting board member, said she failed to support the resolution because she had reservations about the process and believed the Request for Proposal (RFP) should have been restarted.

Katz said the form lease issued by the town in the RFP made the conditions available to all interested parties. It also asked if there were any significant changes that any hopeful would need to do to the space. The changes were requested and permitted later on, she said.

“I am not satisfied with the process that resulted in the changes and concessions that the town ultimately agreed to make to accommodate the Chases’ demands, such as the changes with the electrical improvements and the rent,” Katz said.

Greenstein acknowledged that the town did its best to accommodate the restaurateurs, but that it was important for the town and the hamlet to get the restaurant up and running.

The town has struggled to get a food service operator into the space for about three years. Originally, Lesley Sutter, the former head chef of the popular Flying Pig in Mount Kisco, pitched a proposal in 2012 but decided not to pursue it. Then Carla Gambescia, owner and operator of Mount Kisco’s Via Vanti!, thought she had secured the lease with the former town board before those members left office, but the current administration believed that Gambescia balked at letting the general public have access to the bathrooms, a condition of the lease.

Last year, Lesley Lampert, owner of Cafe of Love in Mount Kisco, was granted a 10-year lease but the Chases challenged that decision because of what they described as a flawed RFP process. They collected enough signatures to force a permissive referendum, but instead of the town incurring that expense officials reopened the RFP.

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