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The mystery buyer for Clover Lanes identified

Rochester Business Journal
April 4, 2014

The mystery buyer vying to acquire Clover Lanes in Brighton is a potential rival to the nearby Royal Car Wash, which is owned by restaurateur Mario Daniele’s family.

Documents filed last week in the court case brought by Daniele and wife Flora to block a sale of the Clover Lanes property reveal that the would-be buyer is Buffalo-based Delta Sonic Car Wash Systems Inc.

Daniele, owner of Mario’s Italian Steakhouse & Catering, opened his car wash at Monroe Avenue and Clover Street more than two years ago. The car wash’s opening was delayed by some two years of zoning review as the area’s residents expressed traffic and safety concerns.

Delta Sonic is interested in the 4.45-acre Clover Lanes property, which is adjacent to the restaurant on Monroe Avenue and within sight of the Daniele car wash. The firm, headed by Ronald Benderson and affiliated with Florida-based Benderson Development Co., runs 28 automotive-service complexes in Upstate New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Delta Sonic locations feature full-service car washes similar to Daniele’s Royal Car Wash. Spread over several acres, they include gas stations, drive-through quick oil-change services, auto-detailing shops and convenience stores. A Monroe Avenue complex would be Delta Sonic’s ninth Rochester-area location.

Citing an alleged breach of his right of first refusal, Daniele filed a foreclosure notice on the Monroe Avenue parcel in state Supreme Court on Feb. 27.

Daniele strictly followed terms of an agreement signed with Clover Lanes Inc. in 1994, said Daniele’s attorney, Edward Hourihan Jr., a litigator in the Rochester office of Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, in an interview.

The pact, signed shortly after Clover Lanes sold Daniele the adjacent Monroe Avenue parcel where Mario’s Italian Steakhouse & Catering now stands, called for Daniele to respond within 10 days of being notified of a sale. Daniele responded with an offer to match the then-unknown buyer’s bid well within the time limit, Hourihan said.

In a statement filed with the court last week, Clover Lanes president Dan Morgenstern, whose family built the Brighton bowling center in 1956 and still runs it, disagreed. Daniele was three days late in responding and thus let his option lapse, Morgenstern said.

In a previous interview, Morgenstern said the Clover Lanes family partnership he heads had not been looking to sell the bowling center but bowed to an unsolicited offer that was too good to turn down. The group has no quarrel with Daniele but believes it is legally bound to honor the sale contract, he added.

Valued on Brighton tax rolls at $1.65 million, the Clover Lanes parcel sits on prime land on one of eastern Monroe County’s most heavily trafficked commercial strips. Papers filed in the court case show that Delta Sonic has put $750,000 in escrow as a binder on the sale.

Attorneys for the parties are to argue the case next week before Justice Matthew Rosenbaum in the Rochester Commercial Division of state Supreme Court.

The sale contract calls for Clover Lanes to stay open through April 2015, Morgenstern previously told the Rochester Business Journal. Should the sale go through, he added, the family hopes to rebuild the Brighton bowling center elsewhere.

4/4/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.




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