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BRONX TIMES REPORTER, A BTR UGUST 9-15, 2019 3
The Pelham Bay Diner property with consturction debris and garbage on Tuesday, July 23.
Schneps Media/ Alex Mitchell
Plans for Pelham Bay Diner to
become medical facility: CB 11
BY ALEX MITCHELL
Something is cooking once again at
1920 E. Gun Hill Road; a large property
best known for 37 years as the awardwinning
Pelham Bay Diner, which
shut off its fryers for the last time at
the end of January.
Community Board 11 said on Thursday,
August 1 that the one-story building
is going to be converted and repurposed
into a medical facility over the
next few months.
Throughout the summer, a green
work fence has surrounded the vacant
diner as its interior is being converted
from booths and grills to examination
tables and offi ces.
CB 11 also said it has received complaints
about illegal dumping on and
around the property since its closure.
A black garbage bag full of large recently
caught, un-scaled fi sh was lying
adjacent to the lot on its Ely Avenue
side on Tuesday, July 23, in addition to
other bags of trash.
New York commercial real estate
mogul Jeff Sutton acquired the 29,800
square foot property along I-95 from
the diner’s owners, Jerry Stefanitsis
and his wife. The married operators
labored for almost four decades before
accepting Sutton’s offer.
Sutton’s group, Wharton Properties,
rang up a $10.25 million tab for the
Pelham Bay Diner and its surrounding
parking lot, tip excluded.
The diner property that Sutton acquired
is bordered on the east by a ‘hot
sheets motel’, the Pelham Garden Motel,
at 2410 Grace Avenue.
Sutton used some of the proceeds
generated by the sale of four downtown
Brooklyn properties worth $22 million
to United American Land, according
to Real Deal New York, to purchase the
Gun Hill Road property, which is sited
adjacent to The Home Depot.
Wharton boasts ownership of vibrant,
high-ceiling commercial properties
scattered throughout Midtown
such as the Swarovski in Times
Square and the famed Crown Building
property at 730 Fifth Avenue, as well
as properties in the Bronx, on its website.
Sutton’s growing Bronx portfolio
is scattered throughout the borough.
Wharton currently owns the 2-story
Westchester Square Duane Reade
building at 2641 E. Tremont Avenue,
the Footaction property at 272 E. Fordham
Road, Payless Shoe Source-occupied
building at 2902 Third Ave, several
1-story commercial sites at 306
E. 204th Street and 3377 Eastchester
Road, along with Hillside Post Offi ce
Station at 3480 Boston Road and a Rite
Aid-leased property at 5825 Broadway.
This will be Sutton’s fi rst foray into
medical-related property in the Bronx
In the late 1950s, that building was
built to house the Gun Hill Manor, a
popular catering venue for weddings,
anniversaries and many other special
When the Stefanitsis’ opened their
diner, it quickly became recognized for
it’s tantalizing Greek specialties along
with the popular ‘Pelham Bay Burger’
and ‘Bronx Skillet’ breakfast special,
that fed many a hungry traveller coming
off the New York State Thruway or
the Hutchinson River Parkway.
Even former Mayor Michael
Bloomberg chowed down at the diner
some years ago, as did the likes of
former Borough President Fernando
Ferrer and Super Bowl champion,
New York Jet, and Bronxite Willie
For the every-day Bronxite, the 24/7
diner was ‘the late night spot’ where
you could bet that you’d run into someone
you knew at any hour of the night.
Stefanistis and family still operate
a waterfront Mediterranean Restaurant
called Molos that overlooks Hells
Kitchen at 1 Pershing Road in Weehawken,
Sutton did not return requests for
comment before deadline.