Elizabeth’s Pizza no longer interested in Union Station

Earlier this week Elizabeth's Pizza pulled out of a deal to lease space in the newly renovated Union Station.

Elizabeth’s Pizza no longer interested in Union Station
May 29
15:33 2019

A little over a year after the Winston-Salem City Council approved a lease for Elizabeth’s Pizza to lease space in the newly renovated Union Station, the family-owned restaurant chain decided to pull out of the deal.

Union Station was originally built in 1926, after World War II rail travel declined and so did activity at the station. In the early 1970s up until the early 1990s, the building was home to Davis Garage and in 2010 the city acquired the building. After spending nearly $12 million to repurpose the space, the city expects to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the renovated train station/garage in the fall.

The three-story building will house city transportation offices, office space for rent, and restaurant and retail space.

The City Council initially agreed to feature Elizabeth’s Pizza as its first tenant during a full council meeting on Monday, May 21 2018, and since that time council members have had at least four separate discussions about the project, including a Finance Committee meeting on April 8.

Following a staff report from city real estate administrator Kirk Bjorling, Council Member Annette Scippio voiced her support for the lease and the resolution passed.

On Tuesday, May 28, the City Council was expected to approve a resolution “authorizing modification and execution of the lease for surplus space in Union Station”. A memorandum outlining the specifications of the agreement between the city and Elizabeth’s Pizza shows $349,650 for renovations to accommodate the restaurant. The total was expected to cover the cost for renovations to two suites inside the rejuvenated train station, located on South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Basic restaurant equipment, an exhaust fan system, grease tap, build-out furniture, fixtures, china, glassware, silverware, and several other items were are all covered in the agreement.

The memo also shows a “non-competition clause” that would bar the city from leasing to any other restaurant on the third level of Union Station that sells food items past 11 a.m. or any other full-service Italian food or pizza restaurant in the Union Station development.

Despite support from the council and city staff, the owners of Elizabeth’s Pizza wanted out.

During the meeting earlier this week, Scippio requested the item be removed from the consent agenda for discussion. Items on the consent agenda are approved with one vote, general agenda items are usually openly discussed by the council.

At the request of Scippio, assistant city manager Damon Dequenne, informed the board that Elizabeth’s Pizza have decided to “withdraw their interest in Union Station”. Dequenne said he received word from representatives of the chain earlier that day. Following the meeting Dequenne said Elizabeth’s Pizza didn’t give a reason why they decided to abruptly withdraw.

“I guess they feel like it wasn’t the right opportunity for them at this time,” he said.

The Union Station restaurant would have been the third establishment in the city owned by Elizabeth’s Pizza. Other locations are at 2824 University Parkway and 3278 Silas Creek Parkway. At the time of publication attempts to reach representatives from Elizabeth’s Pizza were unsuccessful.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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