One more bit of overflow from this week’s column on what’s going on with H Street real estate: The Ohio Restaurant, the strip’s easternmost outpost, has been closed since 2006 since a member of the Ethiopian family that had been serving soul food there was killed in Northern Virginia. A guy named Greg Nickles bought it for $375,000 in 2008, started fixing up the interior, and put it on the market in October for a hefty $10,000 per month.
The H Street restaurant market is hot, as evidenced by permits and ABRA placards in many a vacant building, and brokers who say they’ve got even more deals coming. But it’s not strong enough to support that kind of money for a 3,500 square foot space that still needs work. Leasing agent Charlie Papadopoulos tells me they’ve just dropped the price down to $7,500 to attract more interest, or about $25 per square foot—which, if you can expect to make between $1 million and $2 million in sales every year, is pretty reasonable.
Also, Papadopoulos—whose company specializes in restaurants—disagrees with developer/agent/landlord John Formant‘s complaint that restrictions on fast food places make it harder to lease properties. Most spaces are still too small for the big chains, he says, and they still don’t see the H Street corridor as a sure bet. Instead, most of the inquiries he’s had come from local folks who want to work in their own community. “The nationals just won’t get it,” Papadopoulos says. “You take them down there, and they say, ‘where are you bringing me?'”
Which just means H Streeters will have to keep going to Union Station for their Chipotle, Potbellys, and Chopt.