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No Sale: New York City Diner Owner Turns Down Multi-Million Dollar Offers

The Exchange
Louis Gritsipis bought this four-story building for $150,000 in 1980. (Google)

Commercial real estate prices can often be borderline ridiculous, especially in the super-heated New York City market. But that isn’t swaying 73-year-old Louis Gritsipis, who owns and operates a small Greek diner on 42nd street in Midtown Manhattan.

In fact, he’s already turned down at least one multimillion-dollar offer for his roughly 4,000 square foot building, which he reportedly bought for just $150,000 in 1980.  What’s more, Gritsipis told the New York Times this week that he wouldn’t sell it even for $1 billion.

“Where am I going to go?,” he asked. “This is my Park Avenue, my Fifth Avenue.”

That must be some diner.

The native of Kandila, Greece told the New York Times that the $10 million offer came around 2000, when a developer was in the process of building a luxury condo tower next door. They didn’t want to necessarily use the space, but were instead more interested in controlling the businesses that went in there.

“We wanted to control the environment,” Jules Demchick, chairman of J.D. Carlisle which developed the condo project, told the newspaper. “We felt that it would be less than attractive to our buyers.”

To this day, Gritsipis says he still fields regular offers for his property that can range up to $15 million.

Still, no sale. And that’s despite the fact that his restaurant, 42nd Street Pizza Corporation, is rarely busy and appears to be subsisting on take-out orders and tourist traffic. It’s about personal pride.

“The big buildings, they destroy the neighborhood,” Gritsipis said.