East-of-the-River Seafood Icons Almost Sold
What is it with fried fish and development opportunities? Two shuttered seafood spots—the Shrimp Boat at the Benning Road Metro station, and Morgan's Family Fish Fry on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue—have been up for sale for months now. Broker Ali Javad tells me that both have found buyers, although the deals haven't yet been signed (two of the usual river-east developer suspects, Tim Chapman and Stan Voudrie, deny it was them).
The Fish Fry building was a hot commodity, receiving five bids, three of them all cash. The owner was asking $650,000, and Javad says the price got bid up over $700,000—rare for a property in the area. Javad wouldn't name the purchaser, since they're still going through due diligence, but said they're considering uses from a drive-through restaurant to assisted senior living.
The Shrimp Boat building was more of a hard sell. The owners wanted $1.5 million for the property, which is ideally located at the intersection of major roads and transit, but unable to handle underground parking. "We are looking for that one developer that would fall in love, and would actually see the potential of the property," Javad says. "The beauty lies in the eye of the developer."
They've received four letters of intent to purchase in the last week, and think they've settled on one, from a buyer who'd like to add density on the site. If they go through, the pending sales are pretty good indicators for the strength of the market—though a speculator could still let them sit for a long time. Of course, brokers are always sunny.
"Many many developers now looking east of the river," says Javad. "There is a noticeable shift in the market from a year ago."