STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Picture this: It's a Thursday night, you take the ferry home from your job in Manhattan and hop off the train at the Tompkinsvile train station.
There's a hip vibe on Minthorne Street, where you can grab a beer at Flagship Brewery and some authentic barbecue at DaddyO's BBQ, then catch a local band performing, browse through some art galleries, or do a little shopping at unique mom and pop retailers.
In a locale meant to mimic the vibe that's been created in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Gary C. Angiuli is developing "Back of the Bay," which will be a mix of homegrown retailers and restaurants in a 33,000-square-foot warehouse that housed his family's car dealerships from the 1970s until 2006.
"The name, 'Back of the Bay' has to do with Bay Street -- not the water. It's a play on words from 'Meet me at the back of Bay (Street),'" said Angiuli of The Angiuli Group, LLC., and a partner in the law firm of Angiuli & Gentile in St. George.
"This will be an authentic place in the neighborhood, where people come to shop, and grab coffee and a pastry. You won't see a nail salon or a chain restaurant at Back of the Bay. It's going to be the hippest street on Staten Island. The goal here is to take a page out of the Williamsburg playbook and do something really authentic."
TWO TENANTS SO FAR
Flagship Brewery took up 13,500-square-feet of the warehouse in May, and DaddyO's BBQ of Charleston just signed a lease agreement for 8,000-square-feet of space.
"This is a great opportunity. We had been looking for a couple of years to go to the North Shore, and Bay Street is up and coming -- big time," said Greg Fosdal, who will be opening a second DaddyO's in New Dorp this month.
"Everyone out there (landlords) is looking at too much money per square foot, but Gary offered us a deal we couldn't refuse...We are looking to create the ultimate sports bar and barbecue place at Back of the Bay," added Fosdal, noting the Back of the Bay DaddyO's opening is slated for September.
Because he wants to attract local retailers, Angiuli is offering rent prices at about half of the market rate for the area. He hopes the low rent will draw grassroots tenants who will develop the raw warehouse space. The site also has 80 parking spaces, he said.
SPACE FOR MICRO-RETAIL
Angiuli hopes a third tenant will provide micro-retail in a 6,000-square-foot space, which will include a number of mom and pop retailers, as well as a performance space for small concerts.
"Micro retail will put in a mix of about 20 different homegrown operations. It will be a cultural melting pot where we expect to see art galleries, crêperies, interesting coffee concepts, performance space and boutiques," he said, noting he's also seeking retailers for the remaining 5,000-square-feet.
"This project isn't meant to complete with the Wheel or Empire Outlets. This is for the locals," he added.
Angiuli said he's working with Charlie Hewitt, a well-known NYC artist to create a mural on the upper portion of the buildings.
"I want Back of the Bay to be visually exciting," said Angiuli. "When I first had this idea, long before the Wheel, Outlets and Lighthouse Point, I had a vision for Back of the Bay. I want to keep this authentic. It's a not a tourist attraction."