Cappelli Out, Chatham In at New Roc City

That dashing Louis Cappelli, who once held all of Westchester in thrall, has definitely seen better days. In an all-cash deal, he’s sold the 124-unit Residence Inn at New Roc City to a Florida company for $21 million to supposedly improve his cash flow and redirect funds for another project.

The buyer is Chatham Lodging Trust, a real estate investment trust based in Palm Beach which owns several hotels across the country. It’s one of several smart firms in this terrible economy snapping up properties for a song.

Meanwhile, the all-cash sale, according to Cappelli Enterprises’ spokesmen, will help the struggling developer get loans for his LeCount Square project–a $500 million plan for stores, offices, a hotel, and luxury residences in the heart of the city’s downtrodden business district.

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But don’t hold your breath waiting to see if the money really goes to helping poor New Rochelle. If ever there was a downtown left in the lurch by money-hungry developers who marched in with big plans and turned around and ran with their tails between their legs when the economy slumped, New Rochelle is it. It’s the 2010 poster child for abandoned hopes for urban revitalization, but not just because of Cappelli Enterprises to be sure.

In June, Cappelli Enterprises gave up most of its ownership of New Roc City to Entertainment Properties Trust, a Kansas City-based group that financed loans Cappelli defaulted on. Cappelli handed over control of the movie theater and the retail space to EPT but kept control of the Residence Inn and housing development The Lofts at New Roc.

Meanwhile, officials at Chatham Lodging Trust cited in a formal statement the 10-story hotel’s proximity to banquet halls, country clubs, the Long Island Sound, and New York City as key reasons for the purchase.

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