February 20, 2013

Nearly Six Months Later, Former Collegetown Pizza Lot Still Empty

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Plans remain vague for the future of the lot at 401 College Ave., the former location of Collegetown Pizza. CTP moved from the location to 139 Dryden Rd. over the summer, but its old lot is still empty.

About 50 potential tenants — ranging from yogurt shops to bakeries to other pizza places — have contacted George Avramis, the owner of the 401 College Ave. space and of the Stella’s and Starbucks buildings on the same street. But he said he has not been happy with most of them.

“I just don’t want to put another slimy pizza shop like what was in there before,” Avramis said. “I don’t want to say anything bad; I don’t want to put anyone down. Starbucks is a good tenant, Stella’s is a good tenant – I’m just looking for that same caliber.”

At the beginning of the fall semester, Felix Tabary ’14 and Tess Nelson ’13 said they began negotiations with Avramis about transforming the space into a gym. Although Avramis was enthusiastic about the idea, plans never came to fruition because the students were unable to produce enough money to sign the lease, Tabary said in an email.

“We did not proceed with the lease signing because Mr. Avramis was pressed by time, and Tess and I were clearly not ready to begin operations,” he said. “Mr. Avramis couldn’t wait for us forever since he was not making any money on his property … [and] he was turning down potential new businesses that wanted to rent the space.”

Avramis said “it’s a shame” that Tabary and Nelson were not able to obtain the money they needed for the gym.

“I held out for [Felix] for a while; I gave him quite a few months,” he said. “I was really kind of holding it for him. I gave him a deadline, and we talked, and he said, ‘I can’t get my money together.’ I said, ‘That’s too bad.’ He said, ‘Don’t write me off completely’ … and I said, ‘Fine, but I will pursue other tenants.’”

Avramis said that Tabary and Nelson’s proposal to build a gym was impressive, compared with some other prospective tenants’ proposals.

“[The gym] was what I consider a good tenant — nice and not smelly,” Avramis said. “Kidding aside, a landlord wants non-smelly.”

Though Tabary and Nelson were “probably one of [my] favorites so far,” Avramis said there are two potential tenants with whom he is negotiating. He declined to give the names of the interested tenants.

“I could almost guarantee that there will definitely be a new tenant by next school year,”Avramis said.

Original Author: Sarah Cutler