Less than a week after news broke about Grimaldi’s moving next door to 1 Front Street, the NY Post published an article that Patsy Grimaldi will come out of retirement to open, or rather re-open, a pizza restaurant next to the newly moved Grimaldi’s Pizza. Patsy Grimaldi, the founder of Grimaldi’s sold his restaurant to current owner, Frank Ciolli in 1998. This is not the first time Patsy has come out of retirement. In 2006, he temporarily opened a pizza location at Aviator Sports & Recreation complex at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. The 80 year old Patsy told the NY Times in 2006 that “I’ve been retired — it was a big mistake.” In today’s NY Post article, Patsy tells them “A year after I sold Grimaldi’s, I was very sorry,” Grimaldi told The Post. “So when Mr. Waxman called me and asked if I wanted to come back, I thought I was dreaming. I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough.” Mark (and Dorothy) Waxman, the landlord at 19 Old Fulton Street decided not to renew Ciolli’s lease. Last year, Ciolli and the Waxmans had a falling out over back taxes and lost his right to renew his lease.
The new Patsy Grimaldi restaurant will be called Juliana’s, after his late mother and plans to open in March 2012. Patsy plans to be at the restaurant daily. More importantly, Patsy will take over the coal-fired brick oven, which is said to give pizza a unique smokey flavor and a crisp crust that is just not possible with gas, convection, or wood ovens. Ciolli on Monday told the Post “he welcomed “competition” and would apply for city permission to acquire another coal-fired brick oven”. However, “environmental regulations also make it hard to build new coal ovens. Nowadays in New York City, coal ovens can only be rebuilt or replaced under an environmental grandfather clause — not installed from scratch. Pizza makers have become architectural historians, seeking out spaces that once housed a coal-burning oven, like old bakeries or restaurants.” (ref. NY Times, 10 June 1998) A list of coal oven pizzerias on the Slice list include Grimaldi’s and Totonno’s in Brooklyn.
While the Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s pizzerias will be neighbors in Fulton Ferry Landing, both Frank Ciolli and Patsy Grimaldi seem to welcome a friendly competition. Patsy says “There’s enough business in that area for three Grimaldi’s to do well,” and Frank tells the Post that “he welcomed competition”. With Wild Rise Pizza (68 Jay Street), Ignazio’s (4 Water Street), and Front Street Pizza (80 Front Street) in Dumbo, the pizza game will be on!
Patsy Grimaldi (left) and Frank Ciolli (right) (Photo by Brigitte Stelzer, The Brooklyn Paper)
There are two commercial spaces on the ground level and 3 floor through lofts, one per floor. The Fillmore listing says that the “side wall has a billboard which can be rented for $15,000 per month.” For 20% down ($1.4MM) and loan amount of $5.6MM, that’s roughly $30k per month of mortgage (at 5%). If half that can be paid for by the billboard, leasing 3 lofts for $5k covers the mortgage.
Is there a hitch? Unless there isn’t an updated Certificate of Occupancy on the NYC.gov website, the listed C of O of the building states that it cannot be used by more than 2 families. Are we reading this wrong? Either way, it’s an attractive building (for investment potential) across the street from what will be Grimaldi’s new home at 1 Front Street, next to the Eagle Warehouse coop building, but with plenty of traffic passing it.
[Update: A reader pointed out, “If you look closer at the C of O pdf, you will see that there are actually 2 distinct properties included in the 4 pages. The latter half, with the 2 families notation, is not for this building.”]
As The Brooklyn Paper noted, last year, the landlord of Grimaldi’s tried to evict them for falling behind on rent and city taxes. “Instead, a judge ordered her to accept late payments and keep Grimaldi’s open. Waxman’s son Mark, who handles the property, vowed to boot the beloved joint as soon as its lease expired on Nov. 30.”
Grimaldi’s will serve its final pie at its current location on Nov. 28, then open one day later open in 1 Front St. The 1 Front Street location is bigger and will no doubt still attract a lot of tourists. What do you think about the move?
Here’s a new listing for a 2100 sqft triplex co-op at the Eagle Warehouse building in Fulton Ferry Landing. It’s listed as a 1 bedroom, 2 bath but says that it can be “easily converted to a 3-4 bed, 3 bath”. The upper level features a 14 ft ceiling and the lower level is open/flexible but no windows. Price is $1,495,000 ($711 per sqft), $1,569/month maintenance. This seems reasonable given the building and location, but there’s another listing for a triplex in the same building for a 1,675sqft, 1 bed, 2 bath, but is lower cost at $699,000 ($417 per sqft), $1,558/month maintenance. Big difference in price per square feet.
Also, here is a general market snapshot of the real estate in Dumbo (from Streeteasy.com):
State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Member Joan Millman and Council Member Steve Levin invite you to a Transportation Town Hall for DUMBO, Fulton Ferry Landing and Downtown Brooklyn. Join in for a discussion about ongoing transportation issues in our neighborhood, featuring representatives from the MTA, the NYC Dept. of Transportation, and NYPD’s 84th Precinct.