PJ BLOGGER

Route 17 & Paramus Road – What to build? – A hotel?

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm


Here’s an aerial view of the vacant property on Paramus Road where the Baker Group wants to build a much debated multi-family housing complex.

This property has been the subject of past controversy with regard to zoning.

A self-storage facility was proposed and rejected, and Ridgewood resident Ned Cancellmo’s plan to move Brogan Cadillac to the location was met by blank stares and frowns from the previous Village Council. State DOT officials also talked about moving a salt shed to the property; this too was deemed as being “not appropriate.”

Now it is rumored that, in all likelihood, Zoning Board of Adjustment members will reject the Baker Group’s multi-family housing proposal.

So what do Village officials have in mind for this property? Certainly, they don’t expect anyone would build luxury housing there, do they? What then?

Rumors have circulated for several years now about a group of local investors wanting to build a hotel in Ridgewood. Now that the Schedler property is targeted for preservation as open space, could this be only remaining vacant site where construction of a hotel could be possible?

Please read this condensed biography of Albert J. Pucciarelli, Vice Chairman of Ridgewood’s Planning Board, and let The Fly know what you think about the possibility of a hotel being in Ridgewood’s future.

Albert J. Pucciarelli

Partner

McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney, and Carpenter, LLP Attorneys

Ridgewood, NJ

Chair of the Hotels and Resorts Practice Group

ALBERT J. PUCCIARELLI is admitted to practice law in both New York and New Jersey. His practice is concentrated in the areas of hotel and resort development and hotel operations, aviation law, general corporate law and real estate law. In 1999, he co-founded the law firm of Hooker Pucciarelli & Tibbs, L.L.P. in which he was a partner until joining McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP in 2005 as Chair of the firm’s Hotels and Resorts Practice Group. From 1988 through 1998, he was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Inter-Continental Hotels & Resorts with over 200 hotels in 70 countries. He served on the Board of Directors of Inter-Continental, was chair of the company’s Life Safety and Security Committee and a member of the Development Committee and the Pension and Benefits Committee. Prior to joining Inter-Continental, Mr. Pucciarelli served as Vice President and Counsel to Grand Metropolitan (U.S.) and its publicly owned (NYSE) predecessor, Liggett Group, Inc. He has served as Chair of the Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (2001-2004) and as Chair of the Aeronautics Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (1998-2001). He has served as a member of the Hospitality Law Council of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management, University of Houston (2003-2004), and is a member of the Hotel Industry Liaison Committee of the ABA Committee on Hotels, Resorts and Tourism. He has taught International Business Law as an adjunct professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Business, and was member of that school’s Advisory Board (1996-2004).

Mr. Pucciarelli is fluent in Russian. He is an instrument-rated commercial pilot, an FAA certified advanced ground instructor and an aircraft owner. He serves his local community as Vice Chairman of the Ridgewood, New Jersey, Planning Board and is a Director of the Board of the Ridgewood Public Library Foundation. Until 1998, he was Vice Chairman of the Ridgewood, New Jersey, Zoning Board of Adjustment on which he served for ten years.

Mr. Pucciarelli’s clients include the owners and developers of Marriott, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont, Mandarin Oriental, Hyatt, St. Regis and Westin mixed-use hotel and resort projects, hotel management companies and owners, several closely held companies in a variety of businesses, including hotels and restaurants, the second largest dealer of Cessna aircraft in the U.S. and purchasers and sellers of general aviation aircraft.

Mr. Pucciarelli is nationally recognized for his expertise in hotel management agreements and hotel and resort development. He has recently published “Be Smart When You Negotiate” that appeared in the June 2008 edition of Lodging Hospitality, “Hotel Owner’s Budget Approval Rights in Hotel Management Agreements” in the October 2007 edition of Hospitality Lawyer Newsletter, “Smoothing the Legal Path to Development” that appeared in the April 2007 edition of Lodging Hospitality, a two-part article, “Structure of Mixed-Use Hotel Residential Resort Projects” for HospitalityLawyer.com (March, 2006), “Selling and Buying an Existing Hotel – Structure of an Asset Transaction” for Hospitality E-Newsletter (July, 2006) that he co-authored with Eunice Moon, “Recording Hotel Management Agreements – Why?” that he authored for the 16th Annual Real Property Symposium of the Real Property, Probate and Trusts Law Section of the American Bar Association in April, 2005, and “Hotel Mixed-Use Development Projects” that he co-authored for the 2004 Hospitality Law Conference sponsored by the University of Houston School of Law in February 2004. He participated in two panel discussions at the 2006 Phoenix Lodging Conference on hotel and resort development and led a panel discussion at the 2007 Hospitality Law Conference in Houston on the subject of hotel general counsel’s selection and utilization of outside counsel and will speak at that conference in 2009 on the subject of Incentive Fees in Hotel Management Agreements.

1-800-FLOWERS.COM

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  1. “He serves his local community as Vice Chairman of the Ridgewood, New Jersey, Planning Board and is a Director of the Board of the Ridgewood Public Library Foundation. Until 1998, he was Vice Chairman of the Ridgewood, New Jersey, Zoning Board of Adjustment on which he served for ten years.”

    Wow! Is there anyone else more connected in this town than Albert is? What juice this guy has!

  2. Is it any wonder why the pool of VOLUNTEER civil servants is so shallow? Is there any reason to subject oneself to the never-ending criticism and snarky comments from the armchair experts who find blogging the quintessential democratic tool?

    As residents, we are well-served by such experts in their fields as Mr. Pucciarelli. Just say thanks the next time you see him, if you can exit the blogosphere for that long.

    By the way, democracy is only sustained by thoughts AND action, not one or the other.

  3. Why not? There is plenty to eat here in Bergen County Kitchen.

    But, if a hotel were to materialize on the property wouldn’t it underscore the climate of corruption and pay to play that makes NJ the cesspool that it’s become? People go into “public service” for self aggrandizement not the public good.

  4. I don’t know Mr. Pucciarelli. But, his bio is pretty impressive. It is great that someone of his expertise and numerous competing time commitments has been willing to give back to his community so selflessly for so many years. Cheers!

  5. “It is great that someone of his expertise and numerous competing time commitments has been willing to give back to his community so selflessly for so many years. Cheers!” Hmmmmm…..sounds like this was written by Mr. Pucciarelli himself!

  6. Oh he has juice all right, the kind that easily volatilizes into gas.

  7. HAH – once again we have a hidden agenda. Pucciarelli’s presence on the planning board is clearly no accident. All part of a master plan, as one of the other posters said it is all completely self-serving. Makes me SICK.

  8. Can you say CONFLICT OF INTEREST???????????????????????

  9. In connection with his long-standing membership on both the Zoning and Planning Boards, Albert was personally involved in the review of all recent development proposals submitted for properties located on Paramus Road near Route 17? Is that what’s being stated here?

  10. i think its a perfect location for a hotel. ridgewood is LACKING ratables since all you newbies here in town keep taking properties OFF the tax rolls for soccer fields for your little brats.. make it a BIG hotel and collect the taxes… and on broad st..build some BIG CONDOS and get the taxes. whats the matter with you people..you wanna pay more?

  11. I think that every proposal that comes before Pucciarelli’s planning board needs to be watched very closely. If he nixes everything for Route 17 except for the hotel then BINGO – his clients (and he) profit. This is a very very bad situation. Seems he might not be the volunteering angel that he poses as. Self-serving.

  12. The planning board is APPOINTED by the Village council. They are not our elected officials, they are appointed by their friends on the VC. This is one kettle of self-serving soup and it stinks.

  13. This guy, Anonymous, sure does a lot of posting.

    I’m not a Ridgewood resident and have absolutely no vested interest in anything related to this posting. I came across this blog as part of an unrelated search and read it because I know some folks who live in Ridgewood.

    I do not know and had never heard of Mr. Pucciarelli until today and I can’t help but wonder how many of the negative anonymous posts attacking his motives actually know anything about him.

    The simple fact is that WHOEVER builds WHATEVER goes on that lot, stands to profit from it! Any decision as to what goes on that lot should be made based upon what is best for the community, not who will profit from it.

    I see precious little discussion as to what is the best choice for what should be built there. Shouldn’t that be the nature of the comments here, rather than personal attacks?

  14. “Any decision as to what goes on that lot should be made based upon what is best for the community, not who will profit from it.”

    Agreed. However, every proposal made to date has been rejected. Why don’t Village officials just come out and say what they want built there instead of making everyone jump through hoops only to be told: “not appropriate.” What is appropriate for that location; the public wants to know!

  15. A few comments:

    1. “Newbies” have just as much say as the “oldies” who have lived here longer. Prejudice is ugly.

    2. Some people stand to profit much more than others from a hotel, most especially a certain planning board member whose clients are all in the hotel business.

    3. I sincerely doubt that a non-Ridgewood resident is posting on this blog. Probably an elected (or appointed) member just trying to throw suspicion from him or herself.

    4. Regarding this quote: “I see precious little discussion as to what is the best choice for what should be built there. Shouldn’t that be the nature of the comments here, rather than personal attacks?” This is the point. The only place we residents get to discuss such issues seems to be here on the blog, as decisions are made without public discussion. It gets personal when certain PERSONS make decisions based on their own perceptions, rather than asking for input from the villagers who also pay taxes.

    5. Here is another ridiculous quote: “It is great that someone of his expertise and numerous competing time commitments has been willing to give back to his community so selflessly for so many years” He is not selfless. Did you read the bio that was posted? His planning board rejects every single proposal for that lot but you better believe that the hotel proposal will be accepted. In a private meeting.

    6. Did you read the Village Calendar? The Planning Board Vice Chairman’s home is pictured in one of the months. He talks about how quiet it is in his back yard. Why not put the affordable housing right next to him?

  16. Hey Art – Why do you think ANONYMOUS is a guy?

  17. Mr. Pucciarelli is a fine man. He was the only planning Board member to vote against Mr. Bolger’s storage facility. Also, the idea of a hotel in Ridgewood has been around for a long time. We are a town that could benefit from a project of this nature. If it’s n ice enough, residents will hold their weddings, fundraisers etc. there.

  18. Does something HAVE TO be built there? Why can’t this small buffer of trees be allowed to remain? The biggest concern is the logjam of traffic at Paramus Road and Linwood Ave. I’m not sure how a hotel would affect that. As to the desirability of a hotel in the neighborhood…not sure about that one either.

  19. “Mr. Pucciarelli is a fine man. He was the only planning Board member to vote against Mr. Bolger’s storage facility.”

    He voted against the storage facility because his house is closer to it than anyone else’s on the Planning Board.

  20. I have known Al Puccarelli as a casual acquaintance for more than20 years. The notion that he has invested many hundreds of hours as a volunteer in this Village in order to somehow profit from a hotel development is plain silly. He could not represent the hotel developer before the Board and given his professional affiliations would probably have to recuse himself from considering the application as a Board member. So where exactly is his profit coming from? I guess his payback for the many hours of selfless devotion over the years is to be subject to regualr character assasination by gutless posters with nothing better to do. Just about all the volunteers in the Village have day jobs. I am not naive enough to think that there are not political fixes in this Village but to tar and feather Al P. based on this mindless speculation I find thoroughly repugnant.

  21. "Does something HAVE TO be built there? Why can't this small buffer of trees be allowed to remain?"

    It would be considered a violation of the property owner's constitutional rights to prohibit the construction of a structure there. The only way to preserve it as a buffer zone would be if the Village purchased the property at fair market value, or if a neighborhood association purchased it (as did the North Irving Street Association many years ago to prevent parking on the PSE&G right of way next to Ridgewood High School). Problem is, if the Village purchased it, the sports groups would want a field built there, with lights!

  22. Amen to 2:10

  23. What a lot of pessimists.

    Ridgewood needs a venue, like classy hotel where social functions and conferences can be held. I think that a hotel is preferable to closely spaced housing with no garages for parking, especially when housing would bring more children to the already crowded Sommerville and Travell Schools, and the prospect of more cars on Linwood and Paramus Road.

  24. I’ll answer two comments here. First was the question of why I feel Anonymous is a he. To that I say, “Mia culpa.” I stand corrected… This “person” Anonymous post a lot and had posted even more since my original error.

    Next, in answer to the skeptic who thinks I have some connection here. I repeat I have no vested interest and could care less whether a hotel or a Hooters is built there or who built it. My connection to the area is with volunteer work I do with and Internet safety chartity in the area and a few schools where I work with teachers and students.

    I signed in with my Google login. A simple click and five minutes of research will reveal who I am and what I have been doing online for the past 12 years.

    With that said, I also have zero knowledge of the politics or personalities involved in the issue. I have no intention of taking either side of this issue and simply stated that I felt people should be discussing the issue, not the politics. I neither endorse nor condemn anyone involved, not anyone expressing opiniong.

    What is best for the community should be the issue. If it is not a hotel, it should not be built regardless of who builds it. If it is a hotel, THEN who builds it could and should be an issue.

    Peace. Over and out…
    Art

  25. Let the hospiatl expand there!

  26. Many of the above posts are based on the false premise that the Planning Board is considering the Baker proposal. The Zoning Board is considering the Baker proposal, not the Planning Board. Mr. Pucciarelli is NOT a member of the Zoning Board, thus he has no involvement in the Baker hearings.

    Know the facts before you post!

  27. Pucciarelli also did not vote on the self-storage facility as he is not a member of the Zoning Board.

  28. “Pucciarelli also did not vote on the self-storage facility as he is not a member of the Zoning Board.”

    You are so full of crap good buddy.

    Check out the September 2, 2008 Planning Board Public Meeting agenda.

    The Planning Board needed to authorize a major soil movement permit for Bolger’s proposed self storage facility. Item # 6 on the agenda reads:

    “Major Soil Moving Permit, 156 Chestnut Street, Block 2005, Lot 3”

    So, Albert did get to vote.

  29. It depends on the nature of tha application whether it goes to the planning board or the zoning board. I believe site plan approval for a hotel would go to the PB.

  30. 7:57, technically Pucciarelli and the Planning Board did vote on the self-storage facility, but it was for soil moving purposes only.

    The Zoning Board, which Pucciarelli is not a member of, voted on everything of importance pertaining to the self-storage facility. They granted variance relief for things such as floor area ratio and on-site parking requirements.

    The Planning Board got involved after the Zoning Board approval because the project required a Major Soil Moving Permit. The Planning Board’s vote was a formality because the variance relief had already been granted and they had no grounds to reject the project for soil moving purposes.

  31. we should build a casino also let the indians make some money

  32. where is the zoned adult entertainment district in town? each town must have one. I think I should be able to get a lapdance in town… perhaps a nice gentlemans club there would do the trick

  33. i am sure why building a hotel is any issue at all ..who cares ? build it as long as its private money and not the VC who dont seem to know which end of a hammer to hit the nail with

  34. its funny how the VC flaks are so ready to defend anything they are defending something no one is complaining about ,the gentelment mentioned seems qualified and its interesting that he has hotel experience if a hotel make economic sence build it and stop being so insecure your defend someone that needs no defence ,nice to see a qualified person on a board I thought we only picked political apointees

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