REVERE — The no-frills, counter-only pizza storefront that has dished out what some call the best slices on the North Shore is expected to close this fall.
But Bianchi’s, the iconic 70-year-old pizza shop, is expected to survive somewhere.
The City Council has approved construction of a 145-unit apartment development at Bianchi’s, next to the St. George Condominiums on Revere Beach Boulevard. Construction plans include a space for Bianchi’s on the first floor.
The parcels are owned by the Ash Family Limited Partnership of Wakefield, which include two buildings and three vacant lots assessed at $1.1 million, according to Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.
Under the terms of a purchase and sales agreement, the parcels would be sold to A Chara Development of Revere and the NRP Group, a Cleveland apartment developer.
“I wish we owned the real estate because I really don’t want to go,” said Robert Bianchi, the pizza shop’s general manager.
“There’s been talk for years of selling off this site. But six months ago, trucks came in to take soil samples and check water levels. This team seemed the most aggressive about a transaction.”
While a lease has not been signed, Bianchi said he has had discussions with the developers about taking ground floor space in the new $50 million development.
“We’ve been told we can stay through this season until about Labor Day, so we can at least get this summer season in,” he said. “Construction could take a year or so, but it could take longer.”
Bianchi has not decided whether he will try to find temporary space during the construction phase or just wait until the new building opens.
“Everything’s happening so fast,” he said. “We are having a hard time catching our breath.”
The development team plans to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with a six-story structure of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and 2,500 square feet of retail space on the first floor for Bianchi’s and a coffee shop. Parking will be below.
Matt Philbin of Chara and NRP did not respond to interview requests.
Robert O’Brien, the city’s Economic Development Office director, said the project fits what’s been happening along the Boulevard with upscale residences.
“It’s the kind of development we have been seeing in the area,” he said.
But not everyone is thrilled by the prospect of more apartments and more traffic on the Boulevard.
Michael Benevento, a real estate broker at Century 21, who lives at the adjacent St. George condos, said he has organized owners to oppose the project.
“That section of Revere has one of the state’s worst bottlenecks and we are worried about whether emergency vehicles can get to these buildings because of the traffic,” he said. “And if they drive pilings into the ground, what impact will that have on the St. George?”
City Councilor-at-Large Daniel Rizzo opposed the project. While he praised the local developer, Philbin, the councilor said he is overwhelmed by the amount of development in Revere.
“I’m not sure how good all this construction is,” he said. “Cities and towns are in gridlock, we are getting more and more residents and people who want to live here. But if you live in Revere, you can’t get home. People living in that area have had enough and I felt compelled to vote against it.”