Richard Nicotra breaks ground on Staten Island office building

Nicotra office building

This month, The Nicotra Group will break ground on what will be the last building constructed in the corporate park off South Avenue.

At the corner of Lois Lane and South Avenue, at the entrance to the corporate park, a 37,000 square foot, three-story “very modern, hip” office building will be constructed, providing customizable, Class A office space in close proximity to the Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, the Teleport and the Goethals Bridge.

“This is the building that I wanted to build since we did this project at the Hilton,” said Richard Nicotra. “It’s an important building for us, because it’s the last piece of the puzzle here on this property, and it is the entrance to the Hilton and the Hampton and our office building. This is the cornerstone.”

Nicotra planned to break ground in early September and said construction should take about 10 months, with a mid-2015 projected opening. Some tenants — whose names Nicotra couldn’t release — are already signed on, with others waiting in the wings.

Each floor of the building will have about 12,500 square feet of space. Nicotra said a tenant could lease an entire floor or cut it up into smaller units — possibly 2,500 square foot blocks — based on their needs. He sees it as a prime location for the medical community, which he said has already embraced the corporate park, with 18 medical practices located in the park and others coming soon to what they are branding “The Medical Mile of Staten Island.”

“What we see is that the community really embraces this area, especially for doctors, because there is plenty of parking…and from anywhere in Staten Island, you can get here pretty easily. It’s a great business address,” Nicotra said.

In addition to the office building itself, Nicotra said they will be building a plaza and park, with a “beautiful” pedestrian seating area along with a “significant” art installation for everyone to enjoy. This will only add to the ongoing beautification of South Avenue, which recently had $150,000 of art installed along it.

“When we got here, there were no sidewalks, no medians, no fences. Now, you’ll see people jogging on South Avenue on the sidewalks,” Nicotra said. “This building will not only house Class A tenants, but the front of it will be a beautiful plaza for people to take advantage of.

“We are looking at keeping South Avenue one of the few streets that doesn’t have shopping centers on it, that doesn’t have neon signs blinking and that allows the community, the environment and the business companies to all co-exist in a beautiful area.”

Nicotra said the way he treats his tenants is what keeps them loyal to his buildings, and what brings new tenants in when there are available spaces. As a landlord, he said he uses the experiences he gained as a tenant, when he owned the 250-store chain Everything Yogurt in shopping malls throughout the country.

“As a tenant, I was pretty much treated like garbage. Now that I am a landlord, I take that experience to heart, and I treat my tenants like kings, and I appreciate my tenants very much,” he said. “I think my reputation speaks for itself, that my present tenants like me as a landlord. They’ve stayed with me, some more than 20 years. They’ve expanded with me.”

With this being the last building constructed in the corporate park, Nicotra said his next goal would be to continue to create walking trails within the wetland areas to provide more for the non-business community as well. In addition, he hopes to expand the concept of the Commons Café, a popular eating spot that donates all profits to non-profit organizations.

“We’re proud of our commitment to the community, especially with the Commons Café that we have opened at the Teleport. In a little more than two and a half years, we have donated almost $275,000 from that little café,” Nicotra said.

“We want to continue and grow that concept and do more cafes. The impetus and the idea of the café came out of what we were doing here. We’re really following the Paul Newman Foundation and what a corporate partner should be.”