Friendly Ice Cream Corp. last week closed a company-owned Friendly’s restaurant in St. James Square with little public notice, local officials said.
The restaurant had operated at the Nott Street East location for at least 30 years. Company officials were not available for comment.
Friendly did not file a notice with the state Department of Labor indicating the closure. It is unclear how many people worked at the restaurant, but it was apparently fewer than 50, which is the number required for a closure notice to be filed with the state.
Niskayuna Supervisor Joe Landry said he learned about the closure after the fact and then called the company for details. “Friendly made a corporate decision not to keep the store open,” he said.
Ray Gillen, chairman of the Metroplex Development Authority, said officials with Friendly told him they closed the restaurant because it did not fit into its future. “They told us that they had been there for a long time and it had done well for years, but they decided not to renew their lease,” Gillen said.
Gillen said the restaurant is listed for lease with Vanguard Realty, and that people are already making inquires about the 3,700-square-foot site. “This is a nice site. Friendly is leaving most of the equipment, the booths, so that will make its reuse a little easier,” he said.
Landry said St. James Square still contains a Starbucks cafe, a Chinese restaurant, LT’s Grill, and several retail stores.
“We are actively pursing other people right now, using our economic development tools,” he said.
Friendly closed its Nott Terrace restaurant in April after 24 years. The site, opposite Union Graduate College, has remained vacant since. Gillen, however, said officials are close to putting the space under contract.