Updated: May 26
Business in Glover Park certainly has not stagnated. Capital flows in and out as investors come and go, independent owners build their livelihood or throw in the towel, and landlords fret over attracting tenants or profit from shifts in the business landscape.
Two large investors have decided to cash out of their Glover Park holdings. Insite Real Estate, the Illinois property developer which purchased the old IUOE building at 2461 Wisconsin Ave in 2018 and redeveloped it for KinderCare (see article), sold the building at the end of last year. Ares Management, a major global investor, purchased it for $11.4 million, subject to the KinderCare lease, and turned around and put it back on the market for $13.9 million. No takers yet. It is likely Insite simply took this route for convenience to move its capital quickly to the next project as there was no sign of financial distress, though Ares is a specialist in such deals through the Ares Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) which has recently secured $1 billion through a public offering.
On a smaller scale but still a major DC investor, Clearview Partners has decided to sell the Pearson’s Wine and Spirits building at 2436 Wisconsin Ave which they purchased in late 2019 (see prior article). They purchased the building for $3.8 million plus the business for an undisclosed amount and have put the building back on the market for $4.5 million. All indications are that they will continue to operate Pearson’s Wine and Spirits if a triple net lease-back can be arranged with a buyer. Maybe they should give Ares a call – they have $1 billion burning a hole in their pocket!
Carolyn and Massimo Papetti have initiated a Kickstarter campaign to help get In Bocca al Lupo up and running ASAP (see prior article). The Italian restaurant will take the former Arcuri space at 2400 Wisconsin Ave and they will offer Roman style pizza and a full Italian menu. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding vehicle which helps businesses launch. Investors/benefactors pledge funds to help the business (getting no return other than the satisfaction of seeing the venture come to fruition). The “creators” (Carolyn and Massimo) must reach their goal of $20,000 in pledges before receiving any funds. They need your help – do you want to see In Bocca al Lupo in the neighborhood? Then pledge a little at Kickstarter here. As of this writing, they are ¼ of the way there from 17 benefactors already on board.
End of a Legacy
Alas, another long-time independent business has decided to leave Glover Park. Field English Custom Tailors has done business at 2134 Wisconsin Ave for about 12 years, and prior to that they were just down the road since 1968. William Field II took over the business in 2006 when his father passed away and continues to run it today. He finally decided that Capitol Hill, with all those well-dressed political types, was more fertile ground for his personalized clothing services. He will relocate to 511 Seward Square SE near Eastern Market in about three months. Clients have given him rave reviews over the years. The old row-house building had been on the market for a long while for $1.9 million and closed on May 20th for $1.6 million. The property was purchased by Marc Allon Pultuskier through an LLC. His backers have covered their tracks well, though evidence suggests he represents Terrania AG, a German real estate investment company acting through its DC corporate arm named Terrania North America. They borrowed just under $3.5 million from Mainstreet Bank for the purchase and re-development ($3 mil. set aside for the improvements). Based on that financing, the zoning (mixed-use) and the pattern in the neighborhood, expect 8-10 condos/apartments and maybe a ground floor retail unit.
A number of commercial buildings/spaces in Glover Park remain frustratingly vacant, some for a long time:
2255 Wisconsin Ave – the former site of Rite Aid, which fled the CVS competition 4 years ago.
2400 Wisconsin Ave – the upper level formerly occupied by Heritage India, which moved up the road. Vacant 6 years.
2348 Wisconsin Ave – the former site of Bourbon. Owner Bill Thomas closed it in 2015 and has left it vacant and dilapidated, with current plans to build a single family home though no action yet.
2408 Wisconsin Ave – the former site of the Mason Inn. Vacant 4 years.
2340 Wisconsin Ave – the former site of Ghostline, which closed late last year.
Hanging in the Balance
Laliguras, the Nepali/Indian restaurant at the Calvert Center at 2332 Wisconsin Ave suffered hard times attempting a launch just before Covid hit. They have struggled to get their in-house customer numbers up (though their food is great and you still can order!) and eventually decided to lease the space after hours to a traveling nightclub operator, an arrangement which mysteriously ended early this year. Glover Park’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission has heard testimony from a marijuana dispensary group seeking to lease the space. The proliferation of this new type of business (the legal version anyway) is tightly controlled by the DC government and overseen by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (that fact alone should tell us something). If approved, they could take over Laliguras’ lease and it will be the end of their short stint in Glover Park. Won’t it be great having a pot dealer in the neighborhood? Just imagine walking down the sidewalk and breathing in that second-hand marijuana – it will smell like you are in Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan! Stay far away if your profession requires regular drug testing. Envision the haze over the back parking lot, crowded with cars, whose drivers are about to drive away under the influence. Well, it will be a boon to Chipotle next door anyway….