TGI Friday set to build Gun Hill Rd. restaurant

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A vacant mall on E. Gun Hill Road, which has become an economic ghost town ever since an A&P store closed a few years ago, is about to see a major resurgence in the near future.

After much rumor and speculation, Community Board 11 has received word that a chain restaurant, TGI Friday’s, has applied for a liquor license with the State Liquor Authority.

The shopping mall, at 1750-1800 E. Gun Hill Road, is already awaiting the opening of a Circuit City location.

“There is going to be a Friday’s at that location, 1750-1800 E. Gun Hill Road,” said Joe Thompson, chair of the economic development committee for Community Board 11. “They are in the process of applying for a liquor license, and we are now calling the contact person for a conversati­on.”

A Circuit City location was also planning on coming to the location, occupying the former site of an A&P supermarket, which closed summer of 2005.

In addition to the Circuit City, Vornado Realty Trust, the owner of the shopping center, has filed an application with the Department of Buildings to build a whole new structure in the parking lot of the mall.

A spokeswoman for Vornado Realty Trust declined comment on the new construction, which is listed on DOB documents as a 6,159 square foot one-story new building that is 22 feet tall.

So far, there is no confirmation as to whether the TGI Friday’s location will occupy this new construction, or an existing empty space in the strip mall itself.

“I have a call into Vornado Realty Trust, and am looking into meeting with them,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca. “On the DOB application, there is no tenant listed for the store they are constructing. We are keeping an eye on it.”

Other questions still plague the once active shopping strip. 

Residents are now wondering if the financial difficulties experienced by Circuit City will cause plans for the new store to cease before it even opens. Circuit City spokespeople claim that they are committed to opening the store under a new design, but the waiting game has irked local leaders who would like to see the vacant store bustling with business once more. 

When A&P vacated the premises of the anchor store and neighboring Radio Shack shut down, soon afterwards leaving Ridgewood Savings Bank, Dunkin Donuts and Eastern Wok as the only remaining tenants


Vornado appears to be preparing the site for an increase in commercial activity, because they also recently filed another permit with the DOB to begin a $100,000 reconstruction and repaving of the parking lot. 

This comes as good news to Community Board 11, who regardless of what opens at the site, just wants to see something come of what has become an economic ghost town. 

 “At the present time, we hope to fill up the shopping center, and I think more stores would clean up the area. As far as I am concerned, there is no opposition to these plans, as long as it is a legitimate business that contributes to the community,” said Community Board 11 first-chair Vinny Prezioso.

A spokesperson for TGI Friday’s was unavailable for comment as of press time. 

Updated 5:29 pm, October 21, 2011
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