Jackson Ward commercial market stays hot with two building sales

The property at 316 N. Second St. sold for $275,000. (J. Elias O’Neal)

Investor interest in Jackson Ward real estate continues, with a pair of deals closing in recent weeks on North Second Street.

Business partners Nick Vilelle and Raj Ratwani last week purchased the two-story, 3,600-square-foot building at 316 N. Second St. for $275,000, Vilelle said. The property was most recently assessed by the city at $164,000.

Vilelle said they plan to renovate the space and lease out both floors for prospective retail, office or art gallery tenants.

“We’re excited to bring back to life a great building that is part of an historic strip of commercial businesses,” he said. “We look forward to the day when the whole neighborhood is booming.”

The building, constructed in 1920, is wedged between several properties – 304, 306, 308 and 320 N. Second St. – that are owned by Washington, D.C.-based Douglas Development. It also sits a few doors down from Salt & Forge, a restaurant that recently opened at 312 N. Second St. Its previous tenans have included a convenience store and a dry cleaner decades ago.

Ann Schweitzer Riley, a broker with One South Commercial, represented Vilelle and Ratwani in their purchase, which is their second deal downtown in six months. In October they purchased the former Beads & Rocks building at 420 W. Broad St., and are currently looking for retail tenants to fill that space.

Across the street, a Northern Virginia buyer snapped up a building from an early investor in the neighborhood.

Michael Ng, an entrepreneur who has helped foster the street’s restaurant scene, sold 315-317 N. Second St. for $400,000 to Fairfax-based North Second LLC, a business entity tied to John. G. McKee.

Michael Ng sold 315-317 N. Second St. for $400,000. (J. Elias O’Neal)

McKee could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The building houses Big Hermes Kitchen and Fighting Fish at 315 and 317 N. Second St., respectively. The restaurants will remain open under the new landlord.

The property was most recently assessed for $119,000. Ng paid $120,000 for the property in 2007. He also owns 319, 321 and 325 N. Second St.

Ng, who used to run his previous restaurant Thai Corner on the same block, said he had no plans to sell the building, but that changed after receiving McKee’s offer.

“They had looked at the property for about two years, and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Ng said.

Investors also have been making moves elsewhere in Jackson Ward.

Washington, D.C.-based Community Preservation and Development Corp. is planning Jackson Place, a $32 million project that would add apartments, commercial space and parking to the block bordered by First and Second streets and Duval and Jackson streets.

The 15-unit Bliley’s Garage apartment complex at 408-412 N. Third St. sold Dec. 4 for $2.25 million.

Lizzie Drucker-Basch, who is leading the redevelopment of the three-story, 15,000-square-foot building at 10 W. Leigh St. into 14 one-bedroom apartments, recently purchased three adjacent properties with plans to revitalize them.

And at 2 E. Marshall St., a towering crane is beginning to piece together developer Eric Phipps’ five-story, 167-unit apartment project.

The property at 316 N. Second St. sold for $275,000. (J. Elias O’Neal)

Investor interest in Jackson Ward real estate continues, with a pair of deals closing in recent weeks on North Second Street.

Business partners Nick Vilelle and Raj Ratwani last week purchased the two-story, 3,600-square-foot building at 316 N. Second St. for $275,000, Vilelle said. The property was most recently assessed by the city at $164,000.

Vilelle said they plan to renovate the space and lease out both floors for prospective retail, office or art gallery tenants.

“We’re excited to bring back to life a great building that is part of an historic strip of commercial businesses,” he said. “We look forward to the day when the whole neighborhood is booming.”

The building, constructed in 1920, is wedged between several properties – 304, 306, 308 and 320 N. Second St. – that are owned by Washington, D.C.-based Douglas Development. It also sits a few doors down from Salt & Forge, a restaurant that recently opened at 312 N. Second St. Its previous tenans have included a convenience store and a dry cleaner decades ago.

Ann Schweitzer Riley, a broker with One South Commercial, represented Vilelle and Ratwani in their purchase, which is their second deal downtown in six months. In October they purchased the former Beads & Rocks building at 420 W. Broad St., and are currently looking for retail tenants to fill that space.

Across the street, a Northern Virginia buyer snapped up a building from an early investor in the neighborhood.

Michael Ng, an entrepreneur who has helped foster the street’s restaurant scene, sold 315-317 N. Second St. for $400,000 to Fairfax-based North Second LLC, a business entity tied to John. G. McKee.

Michael Ng sold 315-317 N. Second St. for $400,000. (J. Elias O’Neal)

McKee could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The building houses Big Hermes Kitchen and Fighting Fish at 315 and 317 N. Second St., respectively. The restaurants will remain open under the new landlord.

The property was most recently assessed for $119,000. Ng paid $120,000 for the property in 2007. He also owns 319, 321 and 325 N. Second St.

Ng, who used to run his previous restaurant Thai Corner on the same block, said he had no plans to sell the building, but that changed after receiving McKee’s offer.

“They had looked at the property for about two years, and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Ng said.

Investors also have been making moves elsewhere in Jackson Ward.

Washington, D.C.-based Community Preservation and Development Corp. is planning Jackson Place, a $32 million project that would add apartments, commercial space and parking to the block bordered by First and Second streets and Duval and Jackson streets.

The 15-unit Bliley’s Garage apartment complex at 408-412 N. Third St. sold Dec. 4 for $2.25 million.

Lizzie Drucker-Basch, who is leading the redevelopment of the three-story, 15,000-square-foot building at 10 W. Leigh St. into 14 one-bedroom apartments, recently purchased three adjacent properties with plans to revitalize them.

And at 2 E. Marshall St., a towering crane is beginning to piece together developer Eric Phipps’ five-story, 167-unit apartment project.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
4 years ago

the Phipps project is the one to watch for its rent level projections. its the first new apartments to feature sub-ground parking in the region. that is significant. can Phipps get the rents necessary to make this work? we have to hope so!