NEW LIFE ON FIRE ISLAND
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|The devastating fire that ripped through the Fire Island Pines last November isn’t going to put a damper on the cool community. A lot is already rebuilt, and Blesso Properties COO Albert Price tells us work has begun on the HWKN-designed Pavilion dance club, scheduled to be open again next April. (So get back to those tango lessons.) And the Canteen building, pool deck, bulkhead, and boardwalk—all damaged in the fire—are already back in shape. Blesso is the developer and managing partner of FIP Ventures; the master planning for fire-damaged area is being led by firm founder Matthew Blesso and Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Charles Renfro.|
|The Pavilion features a multi-functional interior and an abstract “cage” facade that will showcase the occupants and "make them the entertainment,” Albert says. The building's inspiration: the sun-washed skeletons of sea creatures that come ashore. “Everything in the sea gets recycled,” Albert says. The Pavilion is the first thing you see as you pull into the harbor, so Blesso is aiming for iconic architecture, he adds. Plans also call for a two-story outdoor terrace, a "Welcome Bar" meeting place for residents and visitors, wedding chapel, gym, retail space, and a nightclub.|
|Blesso is not only about developing and owning buildings, but operating the businesses inside them. Coming into Memorial Day weekend, the firm was having difficulty attracting a chef to the Pines’Blue Whale restaurant, one of its most visible properties. So Albert and his wife Sofia took charge of creating an impromptu Moroccan BBQ brunch (above, Albert works the grill). “We served over 400 covers over four days with a staff of three cooks,” he says. “It was a daunting challenge, but we pulled it off.” Bonus: meeting Robin Byrd and Michael Musto. Also keeping him busy (but she hasn't joined him for cooking yet) is their 19-month-old daughter, Soleil, “my finest creation,” he says. (That grilled food is jealous.)|
|Among its other properties, Blesso recently opened its Tántalo Hotel(above, which it also operates) in Panama's Casco Viejo district, bringing a more modern hotel and amenities to business travelers in the district. And back home, it's an investor in 3rd Ward, a 30k SF creative incubator at 195 Morgan Ave, Bushwick. It's seeking new neighborhoods and cities to expand 3rd Ward, as well as a 20k SF site in Brooklyn for a 3rd Ward-branded culinary incubator.|