Thanks to a tenant-friendly option put in its lease years ago, a Scott’s Addition booze maker has scored a relative bargain on the property it calls home.
Buskey Cider this week bought its building at 2910 W. Leigh St. for $716,000.
Co-owners and couple Will and Elle Correll opened the cidery in spring 2016 after signing a 7-year lease for the 7,500-square-foot space the year prior. Their landlord was local developer Charlie Diradour, who had purchased the building for $395,000 in 2014.
During lease negotiations, Will, showing some confidence in his young business, made the ask.
“He was a 22-year-old man and he asked me, ‘Is there any chance I could own this someday?’” Diradour said of Correll. “I am so happy that he owns a building in Scott’s Addition. He owns his future.”
Added Correll: “We had a negotiated price back then. It was a good price for Charlie. It was higher than what he paid but it ended up being a good deal for us because Scott’s Addition’s gotten really hot. It was a long process but something we were looking forward to. It’s a big number, even if it’s a good deal.”
Correll said Buskey also bought out some of the remaining costs for the cidery’s buildout, putting the total acquisition cost closer to $750,000. Even accounting for that, the purchase price came in below the property’s $1.1 million assessed value – a rare occurrence in Scott’s Addition.
Now that they control the building, Correll said he’s interested in someday expanding.
“We’d love to end up with a rooftop bar and possibly add a second floor at some point, but that’d be a difficult project,” he said. “We’ve started to casually look at that with a couple architects. The goal would be to gradually develop it over time. That’s something I’m excited to do.”
It’s the latest real estate move for Buskey, following a lease it signed last summer for storage space at 1609 E. Franklin St. in Shockoe Bottom. In 2018, it opened a satellite taproom in Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
Buskey distributes its cider across the entire commonwealth and distribution remains its biggest revenue driver. However, Correll said with pandemic-induced consumer habits, Buskey’s now selling a higher percentage of its cider through the taproom than before.
“It used to be 90 percent through distribution, but with home delivery and picking up directly, we’re probably selling about 25 percent directly to consumers,” Correll said.
BizSense Editor Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.