IC city council defers vote on designating Pagliai’s building as historic


The Iowa City City Council has deferred a vote on whether or not to designate the building that houses Pagliai’s Pizza as a historic landmark, despite the owner’s objections.

The East Bloomington Street building is currently zoned for central business service. Those who wish to preserve the building want it rezoned with a historic district overlay.

The building has been in the Slezak family since it was built by Joseph Slezak in 1880. During its 140 year history the building has been a saloon, a hotel, a grocery store and a dance hall. It’s been home to Pagliai’s since 1969. The building also houses the Holub Apartments with 16 units and Laundromania.

The current owner, Gary Skarda, put the building up for sale in October with a price of $5 million. He said his health prevents him from doing upkeep on the property. He told The Daily Iowan that Pagliai’s and the laundromat will remain open if the building is sold. Skarda says giving the building historic status would make it harder for him to sell the property.

Those in favor of the designation say it will prevent a future owner from tearing down the building and redeveloping it.

The city’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission have already approved historic status for the building. Tuesday night the city council decided to defer its first vote on the issue to its April 16th meeting. Counselors say they will consult with members of the Planning and Zoning Commission in the meantime.