After years of sitting vacant at the corner of Renaissance Square and Main Street in White Plains, an architecturally unique building developed by Louis Cappelli of Cappelli Enterprises finally has its first tenant.
The Z Hospitality Group officially opened Mediterraneo of White Plains in the glass building at 189 Main St. with a ceremonial ribbon cutting earlier this month. The uniquely designed building with diamond-shaped glass panels has been empty since construction was completed in 2010.
Cappelli said a number of uses were proposed for the site – from retail to a yoga studio to a cigar bar – though none had fit his vision for the property.
“I just didn’t have the right tenant,” Cappelli said. “I needed foot traffic and this partnership that we have is the perfect tenant partnership.”
The 6,000-square-foot, three-story restaurant is opposite another Cappelli-owned property, the Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester hotel and the two 44-story glass towers of the Ritz-Carlton Residences.
Cappelli said Mediterraneo will bring higher recognition to the area he hopes to brand as “Restaurant Row,” along with other eateries along Renaissance Square including BLT Steak and Serafina.
Z Hospitality Group owns and operates eight restaurants in Fairfield and Westchester counties, including Aurora in Rye, Terra in Greenwich and Mediterraneo restaurants in Greenwich and Norwalk. During his search for a space to open a third Mediterraneo, the restaurant group’s owner Ramze Zakka was intrigued by the building’s distinctive architecture.
“I looked at the building and I said, ‘What a magnificent building. Why has anybody not moved on this space?’ But it probably had to take a lunatic like me to move forward with it,” he said. “But it was a great opportunity and it has worked out well.”
Transforming the dormant property into a three-story restaurant complete with a glass elevator, mezzanine and private dining area took about nine months.
“The building is phenomenal, it’s spectacular, but it wasn’t easy shoehorning a restaurant in here,” he said.
White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said that while many of the unusual building’s prospective tenants have come and gone, he believes the property is “perfect for the use” of a Mediterranean restaurant.
Roach said that the opening of Mediterraneo will add to the ongoing revitalization of downtown White Plains.
“Right now the investment that’s taking place in this area is very strong,” he said, referencing other downtown projects including Kite Realty’s planned improvements at City Center and the recent purchase of The Galleria of White Plains by California-based Pacific Retail Capital Partners.