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Sammy’s Deli, a Charlotte favorite that serves a no-frills breakfast and lunch in Plaza Midwood, has announced it will close its doors permanently.
“It’s been a very successful business for me,” owner Billy Harris told CharlotteFive. “I guess everything has an ending.” Harris opened Sammy’s in 1997 with former co-owner Serafimes “Sammy” Balatsias.
On Dec. 1, Harris said the restaurant will serve free breakfast and lunch to customers to show gratitude. “For all the good people who supported us all these years, I thank you very much.”
This blow to the community comes days after the news that its neighbor, Elizabeth Billiards, would also be closing.
In March, the parking lot and shopping center that served as the home of both Sammy’s Deli Restaurant and EBs was sold for $50 million, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.
The Central Square site, about 12 acres at the corner of Pecan and Central avenues in Plaza Midwood, was sold to global investment manager Nuveen Real Estate and developer Crosland Southeast.
The Observer reported in September that Crosland had conversations with several businesses in the shopping center, offering space in the new project. Construction on the first phase, which includes the multifamily, office and retail buildings in the front part of the site, is expected to begin early next year.
‘They’re going to demolish everything’
“They’re going to demolish everything,” Harris said. “Everyone has to be out in November, December. God knows what’s going to be put in, they said it’s going to be a complex.” The property’s new owners are planning a “pedestrian-friendly development,” The Charlotte Observer has previously reported. The new plans will feature neighborhood retail, restaurants, office space and residential units.
“Three more weeks for us to be here,” Harris said. The restaurant has no plans to relocate as it would be difficult to find a free-standing building. “That’s going to be it. We did what we did, it’s been good.”
Yoga One, which also had a home in Central Square as well as one in Dilworth, closed its doors at both locations on June 23. The yoga studio cited both an uncertain future due to COVID-19 and the expiration of its lease at the Central Avenue location, near EBs.
The Roasting Company, Bistro La Bon, Five Guys, Yama Izakaya and other local businesses are also located at Central Square.
Local businesses prepare to move
Jacqueline White, owner of Open Door Studios, said she made the decision to not reopen at Central Square in August. The 16-year-old studio had been closed since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
White said her landlords offered for the dance studio to stay until Nov. 1, when the building would be demolished. She was offered a space in the new development, but after reviewing options, she decided to relocate — she did not want to have to pay more for a smaller space.
“It was a hard decision to leave,” White said.
The studio has moved to Eastway Crossing, just two miles away from the studio’s Plaza Midwood home of 11 years. It is holding classes at a temporary space at Eastway Crossing until its new, 6,000-square-foot permanent home there is ready in January.
White also rents outdoor space for classes at places including Pizza Peel and St. Martin Episcopal Church.
The studio reopened for in-person classes in October when North Carolina moved into Phase 2.5 reopening. White said business is at about 75% pre-COVID-19 levels.
Some businesses at Central Square shopping center have already closed or relocated. Two Trees Acupuncture moved and reopened earlier this year on Monroe Road, the company said on Facebook. Others are planning to move out temporarily or permanently. Cindy’s Uniforms had signs up in its window advertising moving sales, and it posted about its move on Oct. 15 via Facebook.
Some spots will stay at Central Square
Other businesses are staying open and plan to be part of the new plaza.
The Roasting Company, known for its rotisserie chicken, will remain at Central Square shopping center, co-owner Doug Bell said Friday.
“We’re going to stay there,” he said. “We’re still working out the details with Crosland but they have a spot for us in the new development.”
He said the new restaurant space will be on the Pecan and Commonwealth side of the development.
Bell said they’re working out what they’ll do during the transition while the center undergoes its transformation. The restaurant may temporarily relocate to a different spot at the center, possibly through the end of next year, he said. He said Crosland isn’t planning to tear down that part of the building.
“But we should be open the whole time,” Bell said.
He said the part of the center where RoCo is located isn’t part of the demolition.
Along with more apartments, he said the new offices should be good for lunch business.
The Roasting Company opened three years ago at Central Avenue. There are two other locations: its flagship space on Montford Drive opened in 1991 and its Rock Hill, S.C., location opened four years ago.
The Mecklenburg County Alcohol Beverage Control Board has “no immediate plans to relocate” liquor store No. 14 there, spokeswoman Julia Roddey Paul said Friday.
Paul said the store opened three years ago and the lease runs through 2027. She said the board is looking at options that will be available in the new space.
“We are in conversation with the developers and have not made any definitive plans at this time,” Paul said.
Crosland Southeast did not immediately return a call seeking requests for comment.
Down the street from Central Square at the corner of Central Avenue and The Plaza, another shopping center was sold in March. One of its tenants, Rita’s Italian Ice, announced its permanent closure in October, due to the inability to come to an agreement with its new landlord.
This story is developing and will be updated.