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Daniele seeks to buy site of Clover Lanes

Rochester Business Journal
March 7, 2014

Restaurateur and developer Mario Daniele and a mystery buyer are jousting in a contest to buy the Clover Lanes Inc. property at 2750 Monroe Ave. in Brighton.

Daniele and his wife, Flora, filed a foreclosure notice last week in state Supreme Court, seeking to freeze a sale in progress to an unidentified buyer and to enforce an agreement they say gives them a long-standing first right of refusal to buy the parcel.

Valued at $1.65 million on the Brighton tax rolls, the 4.45-acre parcel is prime land on one of the busiest thoroughfares in Brighton and Pittsford. It currently holds Clover Lanes, a 50-lane bowling alley of roughly 44,000 square feet, and a Salvatore’s Pizza outlet.

Built by a Morgenstern family partnership in 1956, the bowling alley is still owned by the family group. The group’s managing partner, Dan Morgenstern, confirmed that the group has signed a sale contract. He declined to identify the buyer or reveal the purchase price.

The family group had not been looking to sell the property and intends to keep operating the bowling alley no matter who ends up owning the Monroe Avenue parcel.

“It was an unsolicited offer,” he said. “We get dozens every year. I usually ignore them all. This one was too good to pass up.”

The sale contract calls for the bowling alley to operate through mid-April 2015, to honor agreements with leagues. Should a deal close with Daniele or the unidentified buyer, the family intends to rebuild Clover Lanes elsewhere.

Morgenstern said the family partnership has no objection to Daniele as a buyer but believes it is legally obligated to honor the pact signed with the undisclosed buyer.

If the sale falls through for any reason, his family would keep the bowling alley open, Morgenstern added.

Daniele honored the letter of the first-right-of-refusal contract, notifying Clover Lanes of his intention to match the mystery buyer’s offer well within the 10 days after he received it, which the contract calls for, said Daniele’s attorney, Edward Hourihan, a litigator in the Rochester-area office of Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC.

Neither he nor Daniele has been able to learn the identity of Daniele’s rival for the Clover Lanes parcel, Hourihan said.

Hourihan identified James Grossman of Hiscock & Barclay LLP’s Rochester office as representing the mystery buyer. Grossman declined to comment.

Daniele’s hope of acquiring the Clover Lanes parcel goes back some 20 years to when he first built the Mario’s Via Abruz-zi restaurant, Hourihan said.

The 11,000-square-foot restaurant and banquet hall at 2740 Monroe Ave. is directly adjacent to Clover Lanes.

The Daniele family also built and owns the 4-year-old Royal Car Wash at 2875 Monroe Ave. on the corner of Clover Street, on a one-acre plot across the road from Mario’s Via Abruzzi.

Mario Daniele’s 1994 development of Mario’s Via Abruzzi on a then-vacant plot he acquired from Clover Lanes was among the first of a spate of redevelopment projects that transformed the Monroe Avenue corridor over the past two decades.

Buckingham Properties LLC has been a major actor in the corridor, building and refurbishing some 100,000 square feet of retail space since 2006 in plazas lining both sides of Monroe Avenue just east of Clover Street.

Morgenstern said he and other Clover Lanes partners would not balk at selling the bowling alley parcel to Daniele if a court favors the restaurateur.

“My family has had long and friendly relations with the Danieles,” he said. “It’s just an unfortunate legal situation.”

3/7/14 (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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