Friday, August 1, 2014

Amherst's Donald Trump?

Cinda Jones, W.D. Cowls, Inc President testifies before Historical Commission 7/22

Leaving aside for the moment the dramatic difference in age, gender and, well, overall looks (especially hair), will The Retreat -- after it finally happens -- make Cinda Jones the "Donald Trump of Amherst?"

Umm, no.

Cinda Jones is the President of W.D. Cowls, Inc, admittedly the largest private landowner the entire state of Massachusetts -- but most of it is undeveloped woodlands.    The Cowls family kind of put the C in Conservation.

Her company has a purchase and sale agreement with Landmark Properties for $6.5 million to acquire 140+ acres in northeast Amherst, a small piece of their overall holdings.

Yes, if Landmark is successfully stopped by a swarm of angry NIMBYs chances are all but guaranteed the $6.5 million deal goes away.

But if The Retreat is built, it will have nothing to do with Cinda Jones.  Landmark, or one of their subsidiaries, will do the actual development (using local goods and labor when possible).

Yes, she -- or I should say her company -- is indeed a, gasp, developer:  The Mill District is an ambitious project that happens to include land the Cowls company already owns and wishes to recycle.

Ironically some of the same folks who packed the Town Room Wednesday night for the Planning Board hearing on The Retreat were also instrumental in the Historical Commission ordering a one year demolition delay on the Cowls barn at 134 Montague Road, at the gateway to the proposed "Mill District."

Resolving the "historic" barn issue is going to be an expensive proposition, and without that $6.5 million from The Retreat property, harder still. 

Nancy Gittleman at Planning Board hearing 7/30

Interestingly Ms. Gittleman posts her property on the UMass Off Campus Housing and Community web page but told the Planning Board, "I don't rent to anybody under 30."

North Amherst rental property (don't apply if under age 30)


Anonymous said...

$1650/month is why she is opposed to the Retreat....

Anonymous said...

After these folks have demonized Ms. Jones, they should ask themselves, "Just where does my paycheck come from?"

We live in a place that is almost recession-proof because of a steady income stream from corporate America (gasp) through our private colleges, or the state via the University. We're well taken care of.

There's no reason to get sanctimonious with Ms. Jones, or Cowls, or Landmark. We're nearly all of us in Amherst sucking on the tit of someone else's sweat and underpaid work.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Mrs. Gittleman needs a crash course in age discrimination and housing laws.

Anonymous said...

She's more fashionably dressed than the Donald, and there's no comb-over.

Anonymous said...

It always seems to work this way, someone makes good in business and then their kid gets to act like they are self-made entrepreneurial geniuses:

"...Trump is the son of Fred Trump, a wealthy New York City real-estate developer. He worked for his father's firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1968 officially joined the company. He was given control of the company in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization."

Anonymous said...

Trump: "After I graduated from the New York Military Academy in 1964, I flirted briefly with the idea of attending film school ... but in the end I decided real estate was a much better business."

Good choice, Donald, good choice.

Walter Graff said...

Cowl has more liquidity than Trump. I've dealt with him and he's an image more than reality.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, off topic but did you see THIS?!?

As bad as the Barney Blowout was, there wasn't anyone raped while everyone watched -- give that woman credit for rescuing the girl and then finding a cop.

Anonymous said...

If Cinda is alikened to trump, What does this make Cherewatti? He just bought 16\18 sunrise Dr, which was, until now, a quiet little side st.... Another one gone to the dark side!

Richard Bogartz said...

I suspect that not renting to anyone under 30 is illegal. If not, it should be.

Anonymous said...

General statements about any group of people tend to be sloppy and nasty, and Ms. Gittleman's here is no exception.

And it very unfortunately plays into the notion that we Amherst residents hate students. Some of us love the energy that young people bring to this town.

Thanks a lot, Nancy.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean Graff, I've dealt with Mick Jagger and the dalai lama, and- what I'm saying is-

I don't remember what my point was, but I've dealt with Mick Jagger and the dalai lama.

Dr. Ed said...

And it very unfortunately plays into the notion that we Amherst residents hate students

You (collectively) don't?

What's next -- water isn't wet?