Southern Brooklyn

El Greco’s Property Hits Market For $17.5 Million

Photo by Erica Sherman

It has been a rumor for as long as I’ve been alive that El Greco, the Sheepshead Bay staple, is for sale, sold, closing, moving, evaporating, burning, building, growing, shrinking and whatever else. Well, for once, one of those is actually true. El Greco, recently named one of the city’s best diners by Gothamist, has put the land it sits on up for sale.

Massey Knakal Realty Services quietly posted the 1821 Emmons Avenue property on its website approximately three weeks ago, boasting that it offers developers “the opportunity to create a large scale, mixed use development on nearly an acre of under-developed land facing the water on Sheepshead Bay.” The asking price is $17.5 million.

The business, however, is not part of the deal.

“We’re not looking to put a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the property. The business isn’t for sale. We’re gauging interest [in the property] at this point,” said El Greco owner George Venetoklis.

Venetoklis noted that the decision was made before Sandy hit, and didn’t deter his family from pouring tons of money into the location to bring it back online after the water receded. He noted that the property was put on the market back around 2008, and that they’re not looking for any ol’ deal.

“This is something that’s going to be an ongoing thing and we’ll see how it’s going,” he said.

The property is 41,700 square feet, wedged between the waterfront and the Belt Parkway. It’s in R5/C2-2 zoning, which might normally mean that a developer can build a 35-foot-tall mixed use building. But, located within the Sheepshead Bay Special Zoning District, its commercial uses are restricted to waterfront and tourist-related activities. If the building includes large plazas, arcades, accessory outdoor space or additional accessory commercial parking, the developer can build taller thanks to floor area bonuses.

“My understanding is that as long as your uses fit the criteria, your bulk can be 1.2 times the lot size, [in this case] up to the lesser of 75 feet or 7 stories,” said Brian Hanson, Massey Knakal’s director of sales, and the agent for the property.

According to Hanson, in the few weeks since the listing has been public, it’s already received interest from a “mix of retail developers” looking to do a mixed use project, blending retail and residential uses. He notes that, given the price tag, it’s unlikely that a national retailer would pick up the spot to build a single tenant property, but that they could be attracted as the anchor tenant for any future project.

So will El Greco move, close, or reopen inside the new development when the property sells?

“I have no idea,” said Venetoklis. “That’s a question that I can only answer once the next step is taken, and quite frankly I don’t know what the next step is.” Right now, though, “we’re up and running and serving the community.”

Comment policy


  1. “We’re gauging interest [in the property] at this point” They have been doing this for at least 10 years. At one point they wanted 25 mil which is crazy and even at 17.5 it would be the most expensive development site per buildable square foot i have ever heard of in Brooklyn. On the other hand the business might be worth numbers close to that, maybe. No way the land is worth anything near that.
    I know it was a few years ago but you can use this as a reference

  2. Good! Sell this property and let’s get a REAL Diner on the scene, with good food, friendly and without eye brow dandruff wait staff, and a parking lot that doesn’t operate as a fraudulent impound lot. If I had the money, I’d buy this place right away, to save the neighborhood and the people who visit from a disgusting, squirt inducing shithole of a diner. Actually, who wants to start a fund to pool all our money together to put up for this land and level el Grecco. Any takers? If this sounds like a rant, it damn well is. Me and my wife both got sick three times from eating there….consecutively! El Grecco has to go!

  3. there is some buy on my block who wanted to buy it a few years ago that they didn’t sell it to him. This thing about el greco being sold has happened b4

  4. With the ask price of $17.5 million dollars, a new diner will never come to this site. I don’t even think the shady and unscrupulous Sheepshead developers will consider a price this high – insane. STOP BUILDING RESIDENCES WITHIN THE FLOODZONE.

  5. I stopped going to El Greco two years after a number of bad experiences. It seems like the last 24 hour spot is on Flatbush, the Floridian. Regardless, it’s sad to see a local diner close.

  6. want to shut down this lousy place, just stop eating there.
    with all the restaurants in shpshd bay, who needs it? BUT, if you want to feel you are still in America, and not in Ukraine or Turkey, and you need a BLT or a tuna sandwich, a burger, where else can you get it? the coffee shop on Shpshd bay Rd. is long gone, and now we have nothing but pizza,pizza,and more pizza. Or sushi(ugh).
    Bagel Boys isn’t a restaurant, has no tables and chairs, no bathrooms and no service. The BUMS are still on the street, along with the garbage, the car service,the buses and trucks, and the stinky asian and produce stores. Millionaires don’t get rid all the filth, the congestion from traffic overkill,UPS trucks everywhere, parking ticket writers on every block, empty stores. The 99c stores are still there, obvious signs of poverty and a MacDonalds or 7Eleven went away- what does that tell you?
    This isn’t even America- who knows what it is? A weird mixture of nothing,plus banks.

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