Make us your home page
Instagram

Another BayWalk restaurant closes

The BayWalk shopping and entertainment complex in downtown St. Petersburg has a vacancy rate of nearly 80 percent.

LARA CERRI | Times

The BayWalk shopping and entertainment complex in downtown St. Petersburg has a vacancy rate of nearly 80 percent.

ST. PETERSBURG — Ammazza Pizza Cafe closed its doors Tuesday, becoming the third BayWalk business to fail since the city ceded control of the sidewalk in front of the struggling shopping and entertainment complex as a way to boost sales for its owner.

But to hear Ammazza's owner tell it, the sidewalk was hardly the issue in keeping his business healthy.

Domenic D'Angelo said a bad economy and questionable management of the complex steered most people away. He hadn't paid rent in six months before getting an eviction notice last week. His last day of serving pizzas, calzones and gelato was Monday.

"I was always thinking that BayWalk was going to come back," D'Angelo said. "I kept digging into my own pocket to pay my employees and electricity, waiting and waiting. But BayWalk never came back. It's a sad story."

Hurricane Pass, which sold leisure wear, closed in late November. Ben and Jerry's shut down Jan. 3. Only hermanHOME has opened since the City Council's October vote to give the sidewalk to BayWalk because its managers said they needed to ban protestors and control loitering teens.

When asked about the complex's nearly 80 percent vacancy rate, BayWalk's property manager again renewed his vow that new tenants will be announced soon.

"We have a number who are interested in first-floor restaurant space," said Thomas McGeachy, managing principal for Ciminelli Real Estate Services of Florida. "So we're optimistic about our chances in finding new tenants."

McGeachy said he couldn't comment on why D'Angelo left or if other tenants also are considering leaving. He said once the new tenants are announced in coming months, the complex will get a complete overhaul.

D'Angelo, however, said he couldn't keep waiting. He opened Ammazza in spring 2008, after he had success with another BayWalk restaurant, Grattzi, which was on the upper level and had opened almost 10 years ago. He spent nearly $200,000 of his own money to keep the two restaurants open, but said it was no match for a growing perception that BayWalk wasn't safe, which he attributed to protesters. He said with the people gone already, new owners haven't done much to bring crowds back.

"In the beginning, the owners would spend money on clowns and bands to promote the place, because the property is all about entertainment," D'Angelo said. "Now there's nothing. If you want to go shopping, why wouldn't you go to the mall?"

Grattzi closed in September, but D'Angelo said he still felt like he could make Ammazza work. He said the poor economy and cold weather this year made it untenable. The only seating at Ammazza was outdoors.

"I still believe in BayWalk, after all of this," D'Angelo said. "The place is nice. There's so much potential. But until the owner starts addressing the look and the feel of the place, I don't see how it will succeed."

Recent closures

These three businesses have closed since the city of St. Petersburg ceded control of the sidewalk in front of the complex in October:

. Ammazza Pizza Cafe

. Hurricane Pass

. Ben and Jerry's

Another BayWalk restaurant closes 03/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 9:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New town homes sprouting in Oldsmar

    Real Estate

    BY PIPER CASTILLO

    Times Staff Writer

    OLDSMAR — City officials have been chipping away for several years on a downtown development plan, bringing new life to a 7-acre site on State Street. One day in the not-far-off future, they want to lively streets and walkways used by residents and …

  2. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  3. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  5. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.