There’s something fishy going on at the corner of Laburnum Avenue and Williamsburg Road.
A Captain D’s has been fenced off from a main thoroughfare and from a part of its parking lot after a feud erupted between the owner of the fast-food restaurant and the owner of the property next door.
The spat began when an easement expired in 2011 that granted Captain D’s access to its neighbor’s land. The parties couldn’t reach an agreement on a new easement. And the restaurant rebuffed the landlord’s offer to buy the Captain D’s property.
Now Captain D’s is swinging back at being cut off from one of its driveways. A giant sign plastered on the side of the restaurant reads:
The riff goes back to an agreement the owner of the Captain D’s had with one of the previous owners of the neighboring land that allowed the restaurant to use the driveway and some of the land for parking spaces.
“We’ve been there since 1983,” said Jeff Nicklas, a spokesman for CD Restaurants. “We can’t sell. The restaurant has a huge following and is quite a business.”
CD Restaurants, which is part of a group of companies that owns 36 Shoney’s and Captain D’s locations in Central and Eastern Virginia, also offered to increase what it had been paying for the easement, Nicklas said, but the landlord didn’t bite.
Ultimately the land owner put up a fence blocking Captain D’s entrance off Williamsburg Road and concrete blocks making some of its parking space inaccessible.
The owner of the neighboring land is Triess Richmond LLC. It is tied to an unknown entity based in Toronto. The land is leased to Walgreen’s.
Triess’ registered agent is Kay Scott, an attorney with downtown law firm FloranceGordonBrown. Scott did not return a call by press time.
The property was previously owned by the former F&M Bank. Morgan Property Group, a real estate developer in Florida then purchased the land, including the small pieces tied up in the easement, and built a Walgreen’s next door to Captain D’s.
Morgan Property then sold it to the current Canadian landlord, which leases the land to Walgreen’s. Morgan still acts as representative to the owner, according to Trey Morgan, president of the company.
“This is a private dispute that does not involve Walgreen’s and is related to an agreement Mr. Sweeney was fully informed of years before it happened,” Morgan said, referring to Mark Sweeney – one of CD Restaurant’s principals, according to local property and SCC records.
Despite the fence, the loss of parking and the disruption to the flow of traffic in and out of the Captain D’s, the restaurant is stilling operating business as usual; albeit with an unusually large sign on its façade.
“It has obviously made it tighter in there,” Nicklas said. “We’ve been hanging in there though. We’re still doing pretty well.”
Nicklas isn’t sure how the situation will be resolved.
There’s a reason both sides want the half-acre parcel.
“You look at the site; it’s one of the busiest intersections in the area,” Nicklas said. “Obviously there’s a lot of value there.”