The heads of two real estate companies have paired up to invest in Nighttown, the iconic jazz club in Cleveland Heights, and plan to reopen the restaurant July 1 as a personal investment, one of them told the Cleveland Jewish News.

Yaron Kandelker, who was born in Israel, and Rico Pietro, who first ate at Nighttown as a prospective student at John Carroll University in University Heights, together purchased the nightclub and restaurant as well as three associated properties for an undisclosed price on Dec. 31, 2020.

Brendan Ring, the former owner, had said there was a “strong Jewish interest” in the sale when he confirmed to the CJN the restaurant was sold Jan. 5.

Kandelker is president and CEO of Realife Real Estate Group in Cleveland. He also purchased the headquarters of Stark Enterprises at 1350 West Third St. in downtown Cleveland on Dec. 21, 2019, the CJN previously reported.

Kandelker’s bio on Realife’s website says he has engaged in more than

1,000 real estate transactions “in the past decade.” It also states that Kandelker “has a track record of success in Florida, Texas and Ohio” and has prior experience practicing law and in insurance. Kandelker holds both a law degree and master’s in business administration from Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.

The two will own Nighttown, the apartments above it, the former Zoss, The Swiss Baker bakery and a former bank, now undergoing conversion to a drive-thru Chipotle.

Pietro of Pepper Pike is principal at Cushman & Wakefield | CRESCO Real Estate in Independence. His website’s bio says he was the lead adviser for

The 9 complex in downtown Cleveland that includes a Marriott Hotel, Heinen’s Grocery Store, luxury apartments and the Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters, among other projects.

Pietro said Kandelker and he will be “sourcing an operator for the day-to-day operations” of Nighttown.

“The brand is strong, and the brand will remain,” he said, adding that the new owners will start renovations within eight weeks to create an entrance and waiting area on the west side of the building near the parking garage that is now under construction.

The restaurant has been closed since Nov. 22 in anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Pietro said he was attracted to invest in Nighttown partly because of the Top of the Hill mixed-use project being developed at Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights.

“I’m in real estate,” Pietro said. “And real estate is not a short-term deal. So I look at everything over a five-year horizon, and I looked at really the vertical development and the opportunity to own something next to a $50 million project. And you take a look around Cleveland, there’s not $50 million projects that pop up every day.”

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