After holding onto an investment in eastern Henrico for 35 years, a local couple has finally cashed out.
Last month, John and Kathy Zehler sold their property at 5101 Robins Road near Richmond International Airport for $520,000.
The buyer in the deal was New York-based Fairfield BP Associates Corp.
The roughly 0.6-acre site houses a Quarles Petroleum unattended fueling station, which will remain operational under the new ownership, as the lease transferred through the sale.
Henrico property records show the Zehlers bought the land for $70,000 in 1985. It most recently was assessed at $291,000.
John said it was originally a Woodfin station before the local operator sold its refueling business to Quarles in 2011.
Zehler, whose background is in the oil business, said the lease on the property was up in 2019.
“I didn’t know if they would renew, but I know what the (sales) volume is over there. I thought if they don’t, I’ll operate it,” Zehler said.
He said shortly after Quarles renewed for 15 years, he got a call from Marcus & Millichap’s Josh Ein, who had a buyer interested.
Zehler said he knows little about the buyer, and attempts to reach Fairfield BP Associates Corp. were unsuccessful.
After holding the property on Robins Road for over three decades and selling it for nearly 71/2 times what he bought it for, Zehler said there was no luck involved.
“I mentor a lot of younger people and I tell them the definition of luck is when intelligence and opportunity meet. That was the case here,” he said, laughing. “When everybody else was out buying boats and cars at my age, I was buying real estate. That was surely no sure thing, and I had faith enough in my knowledge of the petroleum business that I’d put a fleet station there. It’s done very well over the last 30 years.”
The Zehlers also own a more prominent fueling station property inside the city limits at 418 Cowardin Ave. A former Citgo station sits on the plot of land that’s considered prime real estate right on the edge of Manchester. In 2018, it was under contract to be sold and converted into a Wawa, but the deal fell apart later that year.