DOWNTOWN — The young professionals populating SkyPoint already have their own beer, burger and sushi spots. Throwing some hand-tossed pizza into the mix seemed like a good idea to Aaron Fredricks.
This fall, Fredricks plans to open East Coast Pizza on the ground floor of the downtown condo building at 777 N Ashley Drive. He has signed a letter of intent to take over a 1,840-square-foot space, and said the lease should be finalized within weeks.
The SkyPoint space was originally leased by a group planning to open Azteca Mexican Kitchen this spring, but the restaurant never materialized.
Fredricks, a longtime pizza fanatic from Dutchess County, N.Y., opened East Coast Pizza in Riverview four years ago. The pizza is hand-tossed with a thin, crispy crust and made with fresh ingredients. It is based, he said, on the type of brick-oven-baked pizza he grew up with.
"I've been working in a (pizza) place since I was 15 years old," he said. "It's just something I always ended up coming back to."
Just like back home, he'll sell a variety of pizzas by the slice, along with calzones and stromboli. The restaurant will be open daily, will serve beer and wine and will seat about 40 inside and 40 outside.
Fredricks persuaded his best friend and fellow pizza enthusiast, Rocco Ricciardi, to move from New York to Tampa to be a partner with him on the SkyPoint location. He expects the downtown location will do the bulk of its business at lunchtime, at least for now.
"At 5 o' clock that place is a ghost town," Fredricks said. "They're trying to get it where more people are coming into downtown, like every other (major) city. I think we're getting in there at a good time, because we're getting a good deal. But I think we're a couple of years off."
Time to reopen
Designers Scott Scherschel and Chip Vogel have closed the 1,500-square-foot retail store they opened in 2006 in the building at 610 S Armenia Ave.
But the closing of Voscher Home Collection in early May has paved the way for the building's owners to reopen one of South Tampa's timeless classics.
Boyd Clocks, a showroom of antique and new clocks that was open from 1989 until about six years ago, will reopen in the Voscher space by mid June, said David H. Boyd, who owned Boyd Clocks with his father, David N. Boyd.
The Boyds, who together have 95 years of experience repairing old clocks large and small, operated a retail shop for 10 years at 937 S Howard Ave., then moved to 610 Armenia after purchasing the building in 1999. The Boyds closed the retail shop after losing several members of their staff at once, but continued to service and repair clocks in a separate space in the Armenia building.
"We are the oldest family business in Hyde Park," the younger Boyd said.
Once Scherschel and Vogel opted to close their store, the Boyds decided to reopen a showroom. Boyd Clocks will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 on Saturday.
The funky graphic art that Voscher Home Collections was known for remains available. Scherschel and Vogel created a digital catalog of art by local artists, and sold posters as well as moderately priced giclees that have been digitally printed on canvas.
The collection is available online at www.voscher.com.
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