By Jane Smith
The Little House will become the Little Pizza Shack in October.
The Boynton Beach City Commission unanimously approved selling the historic home at $10,000 below appraised value. The commission’s mid-June decision cleared the path for restaurateur Sal Campanile to open a pizza place at 480 E. Ocean Ave.
Campanile’s Ocean Ridge Hospitality LLC had offered $325,000 for the historic home, known as the Ruth Jones Cottage. He was able to sway the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency board in April with his passionate talk about pizza and creating a destination pizzeria, a place where people can meet and enjoy craft beer.
For the Little House, the city spent $800,000 to buy, move, renovate and outfit the 786-square-foot cottage.
Campanile also received the nod to buy the Oscar Magnuson House at 211 E. Ocean Ave. with an offer of $255,000. The city paid $850,000 in 2007 for the 1,736-square-foot home built in 1910 by Swedish immigrant and farmer Oscar Sten Magnuson. His wife, Eunice Benson Magnuson, was one of the first town clerks.
At the 211 house, Campanile plans to open La Piazetta, which means little square. It would be a full-scale restaurant with outdoor and indoor dining, featuring an oak-fired grill for steaks and seafood, and artisanal pastas. The house needs a major renovation to become a restaurant and likely won’t be ready until the spring of 2016.
In April, Campanile repeatedly said he has $1.5 million available to buy and renovate the homes. Paperwork given to the CRA lists his partner as Deborah Grazioso of Ocean Ridge. She had a Northern Trust bank branch manager write a letter saying she has “in excess of $1.5 million” to invest in the two properties.
Grazioso is the widow of Timothy Grazioso, who was head of counter trading at Cantor Fitzgerald and working on the 104th floor of One World Trade Center when it was attacked on 9/11. His body never was found.
Campanile said he and Deborah Grazioso “are friends from New Jersey” and also said he has other partners, but he declined to name them.
That bank letter swayed CRA board member Joe Casello, who also is vice mayor of Boynton Beach. When voting for Campanile in April, Casello explained his preference by noting Campanile’s “proven track record and bank account, which is huge.”
By Jane Smith