Chase wanted to turn beloved Greenwich Village locksmith into bank kiosk

Owner Phil Mortillaro turned down $2M offer for the tiny property

Phil Mortillaro and the Greenwich Locksmith (credit: Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation)
Phil Mortillaro and the Greenwich Locksmith (credit: Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation)

Phil Mortillaro, owner of one of Manhattan’s quirkiest retail spaces, the Greenwich Locksmith store at 56 Seventh Avenue South, turned down a $2 million offer from Chase Bank to turn the tiny property into an ATM kiosk, Gothamist reported.

Mortillaro, who’s been making keys since 1964, bought the 125-square-foot, triangular property for just $20,000 36 years ago, after his former landlord in a nearby space raised his rent to $1,700 a month.

More recently, he transformed the miniature store by building his own sculptural pieces of art made of keys. There are chairs fashioned out of keys and even Van Gogh’s famed “Starry Night” depicted in keys.

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The key maker said he has no intention of selling the Greenwich Village property, no matter what the offer.

“Every time I said no, they went higher on the price,” he told Gothamist. “But that’s not going to happen. This is where I’ll spend the rest of my life.” [Gothamist]Katherine Clarke