Writing on the wall? A “For Sale” sign has gone up on the Medical Arts Building in the island’s downtown, where crews more than a year ago began work to develop 83 timeshare units. Developer Andy Vickery, who is traveling, wasn’t immediately available for comment. Transwestern, a privately held real estate firm, is the contact listed on the sign posted on the building, 302 21st St. Officials with that firm did not return calls. The sign has stirred speculation about the much-anticipated development. Whether the timeshare development will go on wasn’t clear by presstime. Vickery, a Houston attorney, bought the art deco Medical Arts Building in 2012. In April last year, crews stripped off the back wall, removed the fire escape and were expected to begin a complete renovation of the 60,000-square-foot building, along with an exterior and interior renovation of an attached, six-story, 23,400-square-foot building facing Mechanic Street. Vickery had initially planned to develop 83 luxury apartments at the site with some retail, but later dropped the retail and said he would keep the 83 units and develop them as timeshares. Such developments give several joint owners the right to use a property as a vacation home under a time-sharing agreement. The Medical Arts Building, designed by architect Andrew Fraser, was an annex to the American National Insurance Co. building of 1913, which was demolished in 1972 after the company moved into its 20-story downtown tower in 1971. The building later housed medical offices, hence the name. Stay tuned.
Deep dish: A popular Bolivar Peninsula pizzeria leveled by Hurricane Ike in 2008 has returned, this time with a downtown island spot. Mama Teresa’s Flying Pizza this week opened in the space formerly occupied by Bistro LeCroy, 416 21st St. Along with a variety of pizza, the eatery, which operated for 25 years on Bolivar Peninsula, serves calzones, po’boys, pasta dishes, and dinners, including eggplant parmigiana, fried snapper and more. Mama Teresa’s opens 4 p.m. on weekdays and operates all day on Saturdays and Sundays, owner Carmen Melilli said. Melilli enlisted popular island artist Gabriel Prusmack to create some murals for the restaurant’s interior. Prusmack’s work can be seen around the island, including at the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store building on 61st Street, just off Broadway.