Jeremy Yasses really misses those Friday afternoon lunches with his dad at St. Nick's, and after a while, he figured the only way he was going to get them back was if he bought the building on South Swan Street, Batavia, and provided the help to reopen it.
Today, Yasses closed on his $40,000 purchase, which included the contents of the building.
At 6 p.m., June 24, Yasses will host a meeting at the St. Nicholas for anybody who is interested in talking about forming a new club.
So far, he said, many former St. Nick's members have expressed interest in getting the club going again.
Yasses has also tried contacting former Elks Lodge members about sharing the space, but so far the response from the Elks has been cool.
"I'm willing to give free rent or a free lease for some period of time," Yasses said. "I really want to get the club going again. If that doesn't happen, well, OK, I have other people interested in the building."
Yasses said there are doctors interested in the space, or it might work for a veterinarian's office, and of course with all the space, the kitchen and large parking lot, it would also work for a restaurant. Whatever the space becomes, Yasses said, it needs to fit the zoning for the sake of the residential neighbors.
Recently, Yasses renovated a house at 38 Montclair St., Batavia, that he purchased out of an estate sale. Prior to that, he renovated a house on Ellicott Street that he purchased at a city tax lien auction.
"I've gotten only positive feedback (from city officials) on the properties I'm going to flip or renovate," Yasses said.
He said the initial feedback from the city has been supportive of his purchase and plans for the St. Nick's building.
Officially, if the new club is formed, it can't be known as the St. Nicholas Club. That business name has too many judgements against it and there are too many vendors that won't work with that business any longer.
Still, Yasses is hopeful the club -- if not in name, at least in spirit -- can be revived.
"I was a member, my dad was a member and my granddad was a member," Yasses said. "My idea is if we can get 300 members -- I believe they had 500 or 600 members when they shut down -- get 300 members to give $100, that's 30 grand. That will get the place going."