Pernicano Property Management
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Pernicano’s, which has been closed since 1985, is due to be redeveloped in the near future, now that the family business has been sold to a development company.
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After several aborted attempts to sell the long boarded-up Pernicano’s in Hillcrest, the property has finally changed hands, raising expectations that the gray Sixth Avenue site could now be redeveloped.
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Details about plans for the nearly 25,000-square-foot property are sparse, but Realtor Jeanine Savory, who represented the Pernicano family in the sale, said Monday that some type of mixed-use development combines housing and ground-level commercial. use is likely.
Buying the property for nearly $8.5 million was Carmel Partners, a San Francisco-based real estate investment and development firm with multiple offices in the U.S. Representatives of the company did not return emails or phone calls seeking comment on plans for the site. . The sale price was significantly less than previous offers in the $12 million range.
News of the October sale, which the family and buyer have kept largely under the radar, marks a major milestone in the long-running, on-again, off-again effort to redevelop the Hillcrest site. Previous efforts stalled several times amid litigation and conflicting visions of how the prime location should be developed.
In the last five years, three potential buyers have come and gone, the most recent of which came back from escrow in April of this year after a favorable ruling on a lawsuit challenging zoning changes in the Uptown communities – including Hillcrest – was occupation
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Now that the sale is complete, whatever appears on Pernicano’s site will undoubtedly be an improvement over what has long been considered an eyesore, said Urban Housing Partners President Sherm Harmer, who previously worked with the Pernicano family to future development opportunities.
“The prospects for development are now very good,” said Harmer about the sale. “It’s an eyesore and it could add some public parking. Hillcrest is ripe for development as soon as we get some of the legal stuff out of the way. It’s really unfortunate that the retail businesses are very marginal and they can really use a shot in the arm.
Savory said that based on the allowed density under a city council approved community plan update in 2016, about 61 multifamily housing units would be allowed – the equivalent of one unit per 400 square feet.
“This latest buyer decided to close escrow because they are comfortable with the community plan and they see the value in the investment in Hillcrest,” Savory said. “Whether they start building before the lawsuit is resolved, I don’t know.”
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Gary Pernicano, 73, whose later father George Pernicano started the Hillcrest restaurant when he was just 2 months old, said he had pushed for a plan that provided a boutique hotel, apartments, affordable housing and a shopping mall promenade between Fifth and Sixth avenues . But he said community pushback over the project’s height ultimately foiled those plans, despite an ultimately successful years-long fight to maintain density in the Hillcrest area.
“The result was not what I was looking for,” said Pernicano, who runs Pernicano’s restaurant in El Cajon. The longstanding Pernicano’s in Pacific Beach closed just a few months ago. “We did our best to give something back to the community. Our project would have been the centerpiece, the gateway to downtown on Sixth Avenue. But now it’s finally done, and it’s a shame to leave because there’s a lot of history. I started washing dishes when I was 6 years old and I was cooking when I was 12.
His father first opened Pernicano’s pizzeria in 1946 on University Avenue and four years later Pernicano’s moved to its current location on Sixth Avenue. He opened the adjacent Casa di Baffi steakhouse in 1960.
In the decade after Pernicano’s closed, the vacant building became increasingly dilapidated and unsightly. Pernicano complained that vandals often broke into the interior, stripping it of its wiring and plumbing.
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“I wanted to reopen it 10 years ago, but it kept getting broken into, which cost us about a million and a half dollars,” Pernicano recalled. “But now it is what it is and we have the right price for this time.”
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