Pearson's Liquor Sues over Parking Lot Sale
Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Pearson's Liquor in Glover Park, under the auspices of Wisconsin Ave Imports LLC (WAI), has sued the buyer and seller of the Pearson's parking lot, claiming that they were not given a First Right of Refusal to purchase the property. See prior blog story on the sale of the vacant lot to Petra Development, which is planning to build luxury condos and retail space on the property. The complaint was filed in DC Superior Court on August 16th, 2018. The sale of the property at 2430 Wisconsin Avenue closed on October 5th, 2017.
The details of the complaint provide much insight into the circumstances leading to this dispute. Apparently, the previous owner of Pearson's Liquor, Myung Sun Kim, gave a right of first refusal to the new owner, WAI, along with a right to lease 3 parking spaces from the parking lot in November of 2015. Kim, also the owner of the parking lot, then signed a contract in March 2017 to sell the lot to Petra Development for a price of $4.9 million and the seller gave a right of first refusal to WAI, which declined its right to match the price. In June of 2017 the sales contract was amended to a price of $4.675 million, plus a credit of $100K for environmental remediation and $40K towards the purchaser's closing costs. WAI claims that the total of the price reduction and credits ($365K) amounts to more than the 5% reduction which would require the seller, under the terms of their lease agreeement, to provide them with a new Right of First Refusal, which they claim they did not receive.
WAI claims that they now are denied a right to use their parking spaces in addition to their renewed right to match the offer of sale and that the seller willfully breached their contract. They also claim that Petra, the purchaser and new owner of the lot, knew of the details of the parking space lease agreement. WAI seeks to declare the sales contract void, order specific performance to sell the parking lot to WAI for the reduced price, restore the parking lot to its previous condition, and award compensatory and punitive damages at no less than $365,000. It is difficult to weigh in on the claims in the complaint as none of the defendants has yet formally responded to it, but if the judge buys their calculation of the 5% clause it could mean big trouble and another long-term blighted and vacant property. Stay tuned...