The owner of Max’s Best Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.) received verbal notice last fall that his lease would not be renewed, says Raymond Ruppert, Jr. president of the Ruppert Real Estate property management firm. The reason: “Basically, Rocklands wants to expand, and they’re an older tenant.”
News of the beloved ice cream parlor’s lost lease shocked two Glover Park Yahoo newsgroups on Saturday. One poster wrote that owner Max Keshani had told her he thought he’d be negotiating with the landlord over a proposed 33-percent rent increase, but instead received a notice to move out by June 30.
Ruppert, however, says there was never any offer of a raised rent from the landlords’ side. The talk was “only on his part; he asked if that were a possibility.”
The Max’s Ice Cream building is one of three in a row owned by local sisters Barbara and Gail Bassin. According to DC land records, the two women received the building from their mother, Ruth Bassin, last year, along with 2418 Wisconsin Ave., which houses Rocklands, and 2414 Wisconsin Ave., which houses Z-Burger.
Asked whether the change in ownership from mother to daughters might have caused a change in how the property is managed, Ruppert said, “The daughters are more pro-business at this point.”
Rocklands owner John Snedden and Building co-owner Barbara Bassin have has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Max Keshani could not immediately be reached for comment.
UPDATE: Rocklands owner John Snedden called us back. He says that he has never made a secret of his interest in expanding, if the Max’s building ever came available, but he made no special push to oust the ice cream shop. Rather, the property manager came to him this spring and asked if he were still interested in the space. “I said absolutely,” Snedden says. “I’ve been saying that for 22 years.”
Until this weekend, Snedden was not aware that Max’s was not closing voluntarily. “I thought he was retiring,” he says. “I would love for Max to continue to be our neighbor.”