Developers to turn Gargiulo’s parking lot into luxury apartment complex

Garguilo's complex
High end: The owners of the beloved Gargiulo’s Restaurant entered a lease agreement with a luxury developer, who will most likely turn the restaurant’s parking lot into luxury apartments.
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Luxury real estate developers have entered into a long-term lease agreement to redevelop a large Surf Avenue parking lot, according to documents obtained by the Brooklyn Paper. 

The owner Coney Island’s beloved Gargiulo’s Restaurant, Louis Russo, filed a 99-year lease agreement with luxury development firm LCOR on Dec. 30, giving the builder rights to a sprawling parking lot owned by the Russo family that’s bordered by Mermaid Avenue, W. 15th, and W. 16th streets. 

The lease agreement also grants the developers control over several adjacent buildings, including 1530 Mermaid Avenue, which houses S&M Mini Market, a music venue called Classie Sounds Entertainment at 2906 W. 15th Street, and an empty lot on Mermaid Avenue between Golden Crust and H&R Block. 

The lot is zoned R7x with a C2-4 overlay, which permits a mixed-use development featuring ground floor retail of around 6 to 10 stories in height. 

LCOR has built several luxury commercial and residential buildings in Miami, Washington, DC, and New York City, including a seven-story rental building in Williamsburg called 34Berry, whose studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments go for $2,100 to $5,000 per month.

The Russo family, who has owned Gargiulo’s since 1965, also signed an option agreement with LCOR for several other properties, allowing the developers to buy the lots for an undisclosed price if they choose to, records show. 

The properties listed in the option agreement include two lots on Stillwell and Mermaid avenues, as well as a cluster of properties on W. 15th Street between the restaurant — located across the street from the parking lot — and Surf Avenue. One of the lots housed Rita Ice Cream, which closed permanently a couple of months ago, although it’s unclear if the franchise’s departure had anything to do with the lease deal, according to reports. 

The agreements come two weeks before another glitzy residential complex, Ocean Drive, is slated to open on Surf Avenue between W. 35th and W. 36th streets. The luxury hire-rise comes equipped with a movie theater, a 50-foot swimming pool, and about half a football field worth of oceanfront sundeck — and the building is the first of many luxury skyscrapers to come to the People’s Playground, according to its billionaire developer.

“We’re going to built Ocean Drive one, Ocean Drive two, Ocean Drive three, Ocean Drive four, et cetera,” said developer John Catsimatidis, who founded Gristedes Foods. “We want to make Coney Island look like Miami Beach!”

The Russo family and LCOR did not respond to requests for comment.