Richard Gere has found himself an object of irritation to many of his wealthy neighbors in upstate New York over an impending cell phone tower.
The 73-year-old actor — who was filming his new movie Longing back in October — is the co-owner of the Bedford Post Inn in Bedford, New York, an eight-room luxury inn that opened in 2019.
Gere offered a plot on his 14-acre land to install a 130-foot cell phone tower. But many wealthy residents nearby — including the parents of Kate Mara and Rooney Mara, and Jerry Seinfeld’s sister — are furious about the move, according to Page Six.
Richard Gere has found himself the wrath of many of New York’s wealthy neighbors over an impending cell phone tower.
The 73-year-old actor is co-owner of the Bedford Post Inn in upscale Bedford, New York (pictured) — an eight-room luxury hotel that opened in 2019.
Verizon sued the city of Bedford in July 2021, after it shot down two proposed cell phone tower sites, which would fill gaps in cell phone service coverage and emergency responders, as required by federal communications law.
Now the lawsuit is on hold, as Gere’s proposal to put a cell tower on the land his lodge sits on is under review.
However, Caroline Liebling—sister of Jerry Seinfeld, who also manages her brother’s career—is seeking a “pre-action conference with a judge for the Southern District of New York” to prevent the tower from happening.
“[T]The decision you would make would affect the lives of our family if you put a practical cell tower in the backyard, Liebling and her husband, Larry, wrote in a December email to the planning board.
The couple has owned 12 acres near the property for the past 17 years, and say their “getaway” is no place for a cell tower.
Gere has offered a plot on his 14-acre land to install a 130-foot cell phone tower, but many well-to-do residents nearby — like Rooney’s parents, Kate Mara and Jerry Seinfeld’s sister — are outraged, arguing that the structure would be an eyesore.
The lawsuit: Verizon sued the City of Bedford in July 2021 after dropping two proposed cell tower sites. Gere, pictured here in August with his wife, Alejandra Silva, is seeking to settle the lawsuit by allowing the looming structure to be built on his land.
Others against the tower include Kathleen Rooney Mara, whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, and her husband Chris Mara, son of former New York Giants owner Wellington Mara and grandson of Giants founder Tim Mara.
Kathleen and Chris have lived in Bedford for nearly 40 years, where they raise their daughters, actresses Kate Mara and Rooney Mara.
‘In the winter I have a wonderful sight. I look forward to it every year. “Now I’m going to look at an ugly tower that will soon become obsolete if the site is approved,” Kathleen said in a November email to the Planning Board.
It claims that a “least intrusive” tower is the ideal way forward because it will likely be replaced by satellites in the future.
Kate and Rooney: Kathleen and Chris have lived in Bedford for nearly 40 years, raising their daughters, actresses Rooney and Kate Mara
Other celebrities: Other celebrities who live in Bedford and other nearby towns include Martha Stewart, George Soros, Ralph Lauren, Matt Damon, Ryan Reynolds, and Blake Lively (pictured), though it’s unclear where they stand on this cell tower proposal
I don’t understand why they would want to have it there. Isn’t that how everyone is? Like, not in my backyard or whatever, you know? Kathleen said on Friday.
Other celebrities living in Bedford and nearby towns include Martha Stewart, George Soros, Ralph Lauren, Matt Damon, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, though it’s unclear where they stand on this cell tower proposal.
One of Gere’s employees, executive chef Roxanne Spruance, owner of the Michelin-rated bistro called The Barn, claims that Gere and his business partner, real estate developer Russell Hernandez, may have agreed on the cell tower to end the lawsuit, in exchange for the Bedford Post Inn expansion that took place. Approved by City Superintendent Ellen Calves.
The scenic inn — which city officials recently approved a ten-room expansion — has a Michelin-rated bistro, as well as a pool and spa
The Gere-owned property opened to the public in 2019 and features deluxe king suites that cost up to $1,075 per night on weekends.
Gere has offered a section of land surrounding the holiday in the northern part of the state as a site for a potential tower, which the actor and others like Verizon argue will improve cellular service and communications with emergency responders in the city, located in Westchester County.
Spruance claimed at a December planning board meeting that Gere and Hernandez won approval for the expansion in September, which will add an additional 10 rooms, where luxury king suites can go for as low as $1,075 a night on weekends.
“I just want to point out that the restaurant and the hotel are very separate,” Spruance told the Bedford Planning Board.
“The actions of the landlords in thinking it was a good idea…are quite separate from my desires [and] her desires as an employer.”
Calves said Spruance’s accusation was “not based on fact or truth.”
Calves added, “The innkeepers have been expanding their operations and have had plans before various boards in the city for several years, and all of these have been received with enthusiastic support.”
Calves said Gere and Hernandez “generously offered” their position on the tower because they “care deeply” about the first responders.
It certainly caught our eye because they are working on their property, but in no way, shape, or form was the idea brought up to request any kind of preferential service or treatment. Their project was well under way and was already well on its way to approval,” Calvez insisted.
Another resident—63-year-old Jim Hoffman who lives down the street from the Bedford Post Inn—believes Spruance’s accusation.
He adds that the tower would ‘inflict maximum negative impacts’ on both his ridgeline view and his home’s value, which he estimates at $2.5 million.
It will be right in our faces. Any time we look outside we will be somewhat reminded of the mistrust and corruption of our city,” he said, adding that he would never go back to The Barn if the tower was approved, although he loves the food and the atmosphere.
The Bedford Planning Board will continue to review the cell tower proposal at its board meeting on Monday.
One of Gere’s employees at the Inn claims that Gere and his business partner, real estate developer Russell Hernandez, may have agreed on the cell tower to end the lawsuit, in exchange for an expansion of the Bedford Post Inn that was approved by City Superintendent Ellen Calves.
“Innkeepers have been working to expand their operations … for several years, and all of these have been received with enthusiastic support,” said Ellen Calvis, city superintendent.
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