Monday, October 15, 2018

LoPorto closer to buying part of Italian Community Center

UPDATE (10/15/18): The Troy Planning Commission has unanimously granted provisional approval for a plan to divide the Italian Community Center. Local restaurateur Michael LoPorto has sought to purchase part of the facility, which has been for sale for several years. (Details below.) The condition, according to Commission minutes, is the completion of a stamped subdivision map and presentation of it to the city to obtain site plan approval for utilities.

(Originally published 7/6/18 under the headline
'LoPorto to buy part of Troy's Italian Community Center')

TROY -- Despite being owner of one of the city's oldest restaurants, the Michael LoPorto name doesn't make the news very much in recent years when newer foodie enterprises keep popping up all around town. However, it does today.

LoPorto, a former city councilman and owner of LoPorto Ristorante Caffé at 85 4th Street, wants to purchase a portion of the Italian Community Center, a facility located at 1450 5th Avenue that has been for sale for several years.

According to an agenda item for the Zoning Board of Appeals' Tuesday, July 10, meeting at City Hall, LoPorto specifically "seeks area variances ... related to a proposal to subdivide a parcel with one building into 3 parcels, two of which will contain each half of the building, and the third of which will contain shared parking."

“The subdivision will allow the ICC to continue [its] activities of club and community events and bocci,” according to the application. The built spaces “will remain exactly as they are,” though green space will be increased outside.

Last year, Rensselaer County announced it would purchase it for use as a senior services facility, but shortly afterward dropped that plan. Prior to that, it had been rumored as being a potential new site for City Hall.

LoPorto and his brother Salvatore emigrated from Sicily in the late 1960s. Michael entered the culinary world and Salvatore the construction field. In the early 1980s, they joined forces to open the restaurant. At one time, Michael was involved in several other restaurants, but in recent years pulled back to the original venue.