The Real Deal New York

Museum board in talks to sell Little Italy building to developer

April 15, 2013 02:30PM

Officials at the Italian American Museum in Little Italy are planning to sell their three-story building to a real estate developer, the New York Times reported. The property is not landmarked, and the zoning lot allows for an 85-foot — or more than six-story — building.

Joseph Scelsa, the president and director of the museum, said he hoped a new owner would allow the 1,000-square-foot museum to occupy a bigger space rent-free inside the new structure, and to preserve some of the building’s original details from its past as a bank. It’s not yet clear whether a developer would build rentals, condominiums or something else at the site.

“The market has turned around, and we feel that, by partnering with a developer, we can accomplish more of our goals,” Scelsa told the Times.

As previously reported, the museum purchased the building on 185-189 Grand Street for $9 million in 2007. Since that time, the museum has had annual deficits. Its operating budget is $250,000. [NYT]Zachary Kussin