Iona expansion spells the end for Cannone’s

By Chris Eberhart

Iona College will expand its campus to include the property at 654 North Ave. once the upcoming purchase of Cannone’s Pizzeria and Campus Wings USA is finalized. The private sale is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Iona College’s recent acquisiton of North Avenue mainstay Cannone’s Pizzeria paves the way for the academic institution to implement its campus master plan and potentially increase its housing stock. File photo

Iona College’s recent acquisiton of North Avenue mainstay Cannone’s Pizzeria paves the way for the academic institution to implement its campus master plan and potentially increase its housing stock. File photo

Dawn Insanalli, head of media relations for Iona College, said Iona’s future use of the property will be guided by the already in progress campus master planning process.

“The long-term use of the building will be guided by the campus master plan, which is being developed now and expected to be reviewed by Iona’s Board of Trustees by the end of this year,” Insanalli said.

In the meantime, Insanalli said there are no immediate plans to begin construction on the site, but Iona College will listen to offers from renters who want to continue to use the property as a restaurant for both students and the New Rochelle community.

“We hope to arrange for a new dining establishment to utilize that space for now, but we understand that nobody will truly replace Cannone’s,” she said.

Iona Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Anne Marie Schettini-Lynch said, “We look forward to creating more partnerships as we explore options for building student housing and other college facilities on North Avenue.”

Insanalli did not confirm or deny a new dorm is among the options being discussed, but she did say student housing is in increasing demand.

During the past academic year, a three-story dorm, East Hall, was built in the center of the college’s campus and, on June 19, the New Rochelle City Council passed new zoning legislation that allows Iona College to build a dorm on North Avenue.

“While we have not decided to build a dorm on the property, we can note that we are an increasingly residential college and the demand for campus housing is growing,” Insanalli said.

However, the college has already received the green light from the city on zoning changes that would allow the school to create a new residence hall along North Avenue. The change, approved by the city back in June, a special permit would allow college-related uses in the North Avenue zone within 1,500 feet—or about .28 of a mile—of the college’s main administrative building.

Although the property allows Iona College to expand their campus, students aren’t happy about losing Cannone’s Pizzeria and Campus Wings USA. Among the unhappy is junior and New Rochelle resident Achidi Kisob, 21, who said it was the burgers that he’ll miss the most.

“They had the best burgers around, were friendly and then just suddenly they say ‘oh hey, we’re closing Campus Wings and Cannone’s.’ I didn’t even get one burger from them this semester,” Kisob said.

Cannone’s Pizzeria has been owned and operated by the Cannone family since 1977, when Gaetano “Tony” Cannone opened the fast food restaurant. His son, Nicholas Cannone, took over the family business after Tony passed away.

A private institution, Iona is not required to disclsoe the sale price it paid Cannone’s for its North Avenue property.

Nicholas Connone did not respond to calls for comment by press time.