Brooklyn Boro

Tony Roma’s the new kid on the block near Barclays Center

Eye On Real Estate: If you build it (near arena parking lots), they will come, franchisees say

November 27, 2013 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Menexas brothers have been very busy over at 673 Atlantic Ave. – they’ve just hired 200 people for their new Tony Roma’s.

More than 90% of the new personnel at the soon-to-open restaurant across from Barclays Center live in Brooklyn.

“Retention is higher when we hire in the local area,” said George, 33, who said since many workers’ shifts are five or six hours long, having them commute from afar is a bad idea.

As a consequence of their hire-local strategy, these Tony Roma’s franchisees will be ploughing wages into their new community, which is a good thing.

The brothers expect some new hires will drop out during nine days of upcoming mandatory training and they’ll open on Dec. 10 with about 140 full- and part-time workers on the payroll.

The Queens residents, who own Tony Roma’s restaurants at Bay Terrace Shopping Center in Bayside and Rockland County’s Palisades Center Mall, decided as part of a five-year business plan to expand to a growing area of Brooklyn.

Broker Robert F. Hebron IV went to them with the idea of renting space at Atlantic Terrace, a mixed-income co-op building across from the arena.

“The other two locations are profitable enough that they can support this restaurant until it gets on its feet,” George said. The brothers spent just over $3 million to open their Fort Greene location.

Steve, 45, hopes the restaurant will draw diners before they go to Barclays events and become an after-work drinks spot for arena employees. There will be all-day “happy hour” specials like $5 martinis and $3 domestic draft beer. And the burgers and fries are eight bucks.

Steve called the New York Islanders’ planned 2015 move to Barclays “a happy surprise” – it was announced after they signed the 15-year lease for the 6,700-square-foot space. He expects many hockey fans will drive in from Long Island – and park nearby, making it likely they’ll notice the Tony Roma’s.

They’re paying about $60 per square foot in rent – some of the landlords on nearby Flatbush Avenue were asking as much as $200 per square foot when Steve made the rounds.

Remaining retail space at 673 Atlantic Ave. was recently rented to Bank of America for a retail mortgage outlet, said Hebron, who repped the landlord in that deal. Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant.    

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