Former gas station, Chinese restaurant sites under contract in Manchester

citgo station

The Citgo gas station at 418 Cowardin Ave. closed in March. (J. Elias O’Neal)

Two prime parcels on the edge of Manchester – one of which garnered some nibbles from Chipotle – have found a suitor.

The former Citgo gas station at 418 Cowardin Ave. is under contract to an undisclosed buyer, said Yasmine Hamad, president of Partner Commercial Real Estate, who is handling the sale.

She said the neighboring parcel, a now-defunct Chinese restaurant at 406 Cowardin Ave., also is under contract to the same buyer.

The gas station closed in early March, and the restaurant has been shuttered for years.

The gas station property, on about 1.7 acres, is listed for $1.73 million, Hamad said, and the neighboring 0.61-acre property is listed for $995,000.

The properties are zoned B-3 general business and were assessed at a combined $1.4 million, according to city property records.

Hamad would not disclose information about the buyer or future plans for the sites.

The sellers are John Zehler, who owns Mechanicsville-based gasoline wholesaler Virginia Fuels Inc., and Tom England, the proprietor of Dillwyn-based Lucky’s Convenience Stores.

They formed EZ Land LLC, which owns the gas station property at the corner of Cowardin and Semmes avenues. A separate seller owns the Chinese restaurant.

The station’s gas tanks have been removed, Zehler said. The overhead canopy, onsite car wash and 2,200-square-foot convenience store are set to be razed by S.B. Cox in coming days.

Prior to placing the property under contract last week, Zehler said, the site had received interest from several retailers and commercial users, including Chipotle, but that didn’t come to fruition.

The former Yum Chinese restaurant at 406 Cowardin Ave. is also under contract. (J. Elias O’Neal)

He said the area is in transition, and that whatever takes the place of the gas station hopefully will be a boost to the Manchester neighborhood.

“The area is changing … there’s no denying that,” Zehler said. “You have a lot of really smart people coming into the area making very good deals that, I hope, will bring about some necessary economic change to the area.”

For Zehler and England, holding on to the site has been a patient game of waiting.

The pair purchased the site about 25 years ago, Zehler said, razing an older gas station on the property at the time. He said England’s company constructed the Citgo station.

“Everybody thought we were crazy,” Zehler said. “They couldn’t believe we would build anything for that matter in that part of the city … but I knew down the road, it was going to be worth some money.”

The pending Manchester sale would add to a growing tally of deals the pair has completed around metro Richmond.

In early February, they sold the former Lucky’s at 2800 Old Pump Road near Short Pump for $430,000 to Waffle House, where the Atlanta-based chain plans to raze the property for a new restaurant.

Zehler, on his own, sold a Fas Mart station location at 1700 Ashland Road in Rockville for $1.83 million about a year ago.

“Had it not been for our age, we would have redeveloped the property ourselves, because we believe in Manchester,” said Zehler, 71.  “There is so much potential, so much going for that area now more than ever before. It’s exciting to finally see Manchester, and many of those surrounding neighborhoods, taking off.”

citgo station

The Citgo gas station at 418 Cowardin Ave. closed in March. (J. Elias O’Neal)

Two prime parcels on the edge of Manchester – one of which garnered some nibbles from Chipotle – have found a suitor.

The former Citgo gas station at 418 Cowardin Ave. is under contract to an undisclosed buyer, said Yasmine Hamad, president of Partner Commercial Real Estate, who is handling the sale.

She said the neighboring parcel, a now-defunct Chinese restaurant at 406 Cowardin Ave., also is under contract to the same buyer.

The gas station closed in early March, and the restaurant has been shuttered for years.

The gas station property, on about 1.7 acres, is listed for $1.73 million, Hamad said, and the neighboring 0.61-acre property is listed for $995,000.

The properties are zoned B-3 general business and were assessed at a combined $1.4 million, according to city property records.

Hamad would not disclose information about the buyer or future plans for the sites.

The sellers are John Zehler, who owns Mechanicsville-based gasoline wholesaler Virginia Fuels Inc., and Tom England, the proprietor of Dillwyn-based Lucky’s Convenience Stores.

They formed EZ Land LLC, which owns the gas station property at the corner of Cowardin and Semmes avenues. A separate seller owns the Chinese restaurant.

The station’s gas tanks have been removed, Zehler said. The overhead canopy, onsite car wash and 2,200-square-foot convenience store are set to be razed by S.B. Cox in coming days.

Prior to placing the property under contract last week, Zehler said, the site had received interest from several retailers and commercial users, including Chipotle, but that didn’t come to fruition.

The former Yum Chinese restaurant at 406 Cowardin Ave. is also under contract. (J. Elias O’Neal)

He said the area is in transition, and that whatever takes the place of the gas station hopefully will be a boost to the Manchester neighborhood.

“The area is changing … there’s no denying that,” Zehler said. “You have a lot of really smart people coming into the area making very good deals that, I hope, will bring about some necessary economic change to the area.”

For Zehler and England, holding on to the site has been a patient game of waiting.

The pair purchased the site about 25 years ago, Zehler said, razing an older gas station on the property at the time. He said England’s company constructed the Citgo station.

“Everybody thought we were crazy,” Zehler said. “They couldn’t believe we would build anything for that matter in that part of the city … but I knew down the road, it was going to be worth some money.”

The pending Manchester sale would add to a growing tally of deals the pair has completed around metro Richmond.

In early February, they sold the former Lucky’s at 2800 Old Pump Road near Short Pump for $430,000 to Waffle House, where the Atlanta-based chain plans to raze the property for a new restaurant.

Zehler, on his own, sold a Fas Mart station location at 1700 Ashland Road in Rockville for $1.83 million about a year ago.

“Had it not been for our age, we would have redeveloped the property ourselves, because we believe in Manchester,” said Zehler, 71.  “There is so much potential, so much going for that area now more than ever before. It’s exciting to finally see Manchester, and many of those surrounding neighborhoods, taking off.”

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charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
4 years ago

I hope they put something on the properties soon.

Brian Ezzelle
Brian Ezzelle
4 years ago

You can see some photos of what the Semmes and Cowardin intersection used to look like here from back when the old Shops Yard was still in operation.

http://www.railsinvirginia.com/abandoned/acl/shops_yard/photos.html

Yasmine Hamad
Yasmine Hamad
4 years ago
Reply to  Brian Ezzelle

Very interesting pics! Thanks for sharing…

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
4 years ago

Brian, thanks for the great photos.! That one that shows the river swelling during hurricane Camille is awesome!

stuart c harlow
stuart c harlow
4 years ago

sorry to hear Mr. Zehler refer to Manchester as “that part of the city”. makes one realize that they need to choose their words wisely.