Coup Des Tartes has been a popular central Phoenix restaurant for 17 years. Come Jan. 31, it will be Phoenix's newest parking lot.
The Van Tuyl Group, which owns several Valley car dealerships and manages many others throughout the country, purchased the land Coup Des Tartes sits on out of foreclosure last month.
Ron Pacioni owns the restaurant. He had signed a 10-year lease with the previous owners, Highland Office and Condo Partners, LLC three years ago.
Pacioni said the previous company, which his father was a part of, intended to develop the land into a mixed-use development. The original plan, before the real estate economy crumbled, was to build condos but keep the restaurant at 4626 N. 16th St.
"It's a historic farmhouse. A 1932 farmhouse," Pacioni said.
Coup Des Tartes only seats about 40 people, mostly in the small home's living room. The original kitchen has been outfitted with industrial appliances.
"We've had so many anniversaries, and birthdays and proposals. Last night we had a proposal, and it's just very special. It's home. It's home," Pacioni said.
But after the Van Tuyl Group purchased the property in May, Pacioni said he was told to pack his bags.
"They originally gave us 90 days to get out, and I pushed back pretty aggressively. They came back and gave us another 90 days. We have to be out Jan. 31," he explained.
Pacioni said the new owners plan to bulldoze the lot and use it as an overflow area for dealership cars.
"It's a kick in the gut," Pacioni said.
"Phoenix doesn't have a lot of history because we're new. What we have is limited, and we need to preserve when we can what we have," he continued.
CBS 5 News went to Van Tuyl's headquarters to get their side of the story and, after a 90-minute wait, were handed a statement by the company's attorney. The statement did not address what would happen to the property.
"Is there any possibility of (the Van Tuyl Group) reversing your decision to turn this into a parking lot?" CBS 5 asked.
"I can't comment any further," responded the company's attorney.
"I'm not going to comment on any of our plans for the property," he continued.
Pacioni said he's plans to find a new location for his restaurant and hopes to have it open before his current place closes.
"I want to make it very clear. Coup De Tartes is not closing," he said. "We will remain open the day we close here to the opening of the next place. We are not going dark. "
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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