The former downtown St. Louis Charlie Gitto’s restaurant property, 207 N. Sixth St., is on the market for $575,000, after the longtime eatery closed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mark Kornfeld of Sansone Group, broker for the owner, CAG Properties LLC, said the most likely buyer is someone interested in redeveloping the nearby vacant Railway Exchange building, 600 Locust St. Interested parties have sought option contracts with “very long” periods of due diligence, but those deals weren’t signed, he said.
The property also could be reopened as a restaurant, Kornfeld said, though the building is now a “little bit more than a shell,” as a burst pipe in February 2021 caused water damage, necessitating a gutting of the interior. Gitto’s Downtown reopened for several months after stay-at-home orders were lifted in 2020, but then closed in October 2020 for renovations during the baseball off season, with plans to reopen thwarted by the burst pipe.
While the restaurant struggled pre-pandemic, traffic downtown fell off during and after the pandemic, amid the adoption of remote work, Kornfeld said. “The office buildings aren’t as full,” he said. “The restaurant worked when our downtown was a much more vibrant place than it is right now.”
Louie Vangel, a grandson of the late Charlie Gitto Sr. who once ran his grandfather’s Charlie Gitto’s Downtown restaurant, said preservation of the building would likely require millions of dollars.
He said the “writing is on the wall with what needs to happen.” If the parking garage directly to the south of Gitto’s is demolished, the Gitto’s property likely would also have to come down, he said.
Vangel said it’s possible his family could open a restaurant inside of a Railway Exchange redevelopment.
“The investment right now from an individual standpoint seems like it would be a low priority,” Vangel said of a single restaurateur opening. “If there was a real investment group that wants to build a quality area in the middle of downtown, that would be a great improvement.”
The 3,091-square-foot, two-story building, which was constructed in 1920, sits on .07 acres, and the property doesn’t have parking, according to marketing materials and Kornfeld. Property taxes are $9,970 this year, down from $10,250 in 2022, according to city records.
A separate chain of restaurants, Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill and at Hollywood Casino, are owned by Vangel’s uncle, Charlie Gitto Jr.
Vangel in recent years opened a Warson Woods restaurant.