Posts Tagged ‘2416’

When Z-Burger opened at 2414 Wisconsin Ave. in late 2008, it was without the local chain’s famed hand-spun milkshakes and malts. At the time, Max’s Best Homemade Ice Cream was offering shakes at 2416 Wisconsin Ave., and the owners of Z-Burger (as well as the owner of Rocklands Barbeque at 2418 Wisconsin Ave.) declined to offer desserts, in deference to longtime ice-cream shop owner Max Keshani.

Now that Max’s has closed (and Rocklands is in the process of expanding into the former Max’s space), Z-Burger has brought its 75 flavors to Glover Park. On the menu are a mind-spinning array of milkshake options, including Snickers, pomegranate, maple walnut, blueberry cheesecake, and “frozen hot chocolate.” Shakes cost $4.75 each.

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From the April 2014 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The new seating area (and bathrooms) at Rocklands Barbeque (2418 Wisconsin Ave.) should open around April 15, according to owner John Snedden. The restaurant’s expansion into the former site of Max’s Best Homemade Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.) will add 19 seats—for a total of 29—and two customer bathrooms—for a total of two.

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From the February 2014 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

Rocklands (2418 Wisconsin Ave.) expects to open its expanded digs around the first of March, according to owner John Snedden. The barbecue joint is annexing 2416 Wisconsin Avenue, the former location of Max’s Best Homemade Ice Cream, which closed in October. Because Rocklands holds a full-service (CR) liquor license, it is required to get Alcoholic Beverage Control Board permission for the expansion, which will increase the number of available seats from 10 to 29 and add two bathrooms.

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Max’s Best Homemade Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.) will remain open for the next few months, according to shop owner Max Keshani. “Yes, I’m here through summer time,” he tells us. Rumors of a lease extension deal have been flying for days, but lawyers for Keshani and landlords Gail and Barbara Bassin have so far declined to comment. (The two parties had previously announced that they would not comment during negotiations but would issue a joint statement on the end result.) Keshani confirmed to us that his lease had been extended, but he did not specify an end date; the rumor we heard was that the extension ends September 30. (Update: it ends October 31; see attorneys’ statement below.) Keshani says he hopes to negotiate a further extension after this one expires: “I’m working harder and harder to stay longer and longer.”

Keshani was formally notified in May that his lease would not be renewed when it expires June 30, and next-door neighbor John Snedden of Rocklands (2418 Wisconsin Ave.) soon announced that he would expand his barbecue shop into the vacated ice cream space. But Keshani, who believed he had been in the process of negotiating a lease extension, was shocked by his ouster, and friends and supporters rallied to his defense, urging the Bassins to reconsider and allow Max’s to remain. Some vilified Snedden, blaming his expansion plans for the end of Keshani’s lease. But the Bassins insisted that their decision to end Keshani’s lease had nothing to do with Snedden.

Snedden, for his part, says he has not received formal notification that his lease on the Max’s space will not begin on July 1, as agreed. But he has not brought in an architect to plan for the expansion, let alone applied for any building permits, he says. When the uproar over Max’s lease first erupted, Snedden told the Bassins he’d be willing to delay the start of his lease, and he has been operating on the assumption that they would take him up on the offer. In the meantime, Snedden says, he has been devoting his time to launching another project: the Right Proper Brewing Company, a Southern-themed brew pub at 624 T Street in Shaw, set to open this fall.

UPDATE: Shortly after midnight on June 28, attorneys for Keshani and the Bassins issued the following statement:

Max’s Best Ice Cream will continue in business at 2416 Wisconsin Avenue through October 31, 2013.  Max and Gail and Barbara Bassin, the owners of the property, have agreed that this represents a fair and reasonable outcome for all involved.  It gives Max and the community the benefit of having Max’s Best Ice Cream in Glover Park for the entire 2013 summer and part of the fall.  We are grateful to John Snedden and Rocklands Barbeque without whose active support this arrangement could not have been achieved.

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The attorney for Mahmood “Max” Keshani, owner of Max’s Best Homemade Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.), says lease negotiations between Max and his landlords are ongoing, despite the landlords’ earlier decision not to renew Keshani’s lease when it expires on June 30. “Max and the landlord are in productive discussions and have agreed that there are not to be any statements issued to the press until the discussions have been concluded,” says the lawyer, who has asked that his name not be published. “At that time a joint statement will be issued by the parties.”

Previously, the attorney told us that Keshani had “no intention” of vacating the premises on June 30. He told the Georgetown Current, however, that Keshani might not have the heart to wage a long-term battle to hold onto the building indefinitely. “Max would like to stay in business long enough to pass it down to his [baby] grandson,” the attorney was quoted as saying. But given “how long that process would play out … [and] the stressors involved, it’s probably settling in a different way.” We’ve been told by someone not involved in the negotiations that the attorney hopes to extend Keshani’s lease through November 30.

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An attorney representing Mahmood “Max” Keshani, owner of Max’s Best Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.), says the merchant plans to remain in his storefront shop past the June 30 expiration of his current lease. “I sent a [lease] proposal to [landlords Gail and Barbara] Bassins’ attorney yesterday afternoon,” says the lawyer, who answered our questions by email on the condition that his name not be published. “Max has no intention of vacating on (or before) June 30.” Keshani’s attorney says that he would have sent a proposal to the landlords sooner, but he wanted to give them “the courtesy of making the first offer, since they are in the unenviable position of having two tenants who both have legitimate claims to the same space.” The second tenant to which the attorney refers is Rocklands Barbeque (2418 Wisconsin Ave.), which has signed a lease to expand into the Max’s space.

When asked what legitimate claim Keshani will have to the storefront after his lease expires—given that the lease contains no option to renew—the attorney declined to outline his legal strategy, but said that Keshani had received two previous lease extensions even though there was no specific option to renew then, either. Further, he says, Keshani and his daughter, Neda, had been engaged in lease negotiations with the property management firm—something the firm’s president has denied. “Max and his daughter were verbally given the cost per month for the lease extension, accepted the cost, and were waiting for the documents to review and sign them,” the lawyer says. “They were in touch with the management company and were not told their lease would not be renewed until they received [written notice to quit] in early May.” As we have previously reported, Neda wrote a letter to the management company on April 26, one week before the written notice to quit was delivered, expressing the shop’s interest in renewing the lease and requesting a letter stating the monthly rent.

In a statement released yesterday through their attorney, the Bassins said that Keshani was informed last fall that his lease would not be renewed. “It is not clear why Max chose to think that the lease would be extended,” they said. The Bassins’ attorney could not be reached for comment on Keshani’s lease proposal.

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Today, landlords Gail and Barbara Bassin released a statement regarding their decision to terminate the lease of Max’s Best Homemade Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.). In the statement, the two sisters express affection for Glover Park and small businesses in general, and confidence in their decision to lease the Max’s space to Rocklands (2418 Wisconsin Ave.) so that the barbecue restaurant can expand. Although they do not completely foreclose the possibility of allowing Max’s to remain through one last summer season, they say that they have yet to receive a definitive proposal from Max or his attorney on that.

Here is the entire statement:

As owners of the property at 2416 Wisconsin Avenue NW, which houses Max’s Best Ice Cream, we felt compelled to issue a public statement in light of recent media and community attention.  Some of this attention has unfairly resulted in casting Rockland’s Barbeque or our property management company in an unfavorable light, which we, as landlords, feel is grossly unfair, misinformed and unjustified.

We have recently heard from numerous community members, many of who have been friends and neighbors of ours for years, and we have listened carefully to both your support, and your concerns, about our decision to offer Rockland’s the opportunity to expand.

We do not take our property ownership responsibilities and community commitment lightly, especially as we have a long family history in Glover Park spanning several generations.  Our grandparents originally purchased the properties on Wisconsin Avenue, transferring them to our mother and she recently to us.  As our family’s connection to Glover Park spans several generations, we understand and appreciate the feeling of community among residents.  Our mother grew up in Glover Park on 37th Street, living upstairs from the small grocery store her parents owned.  She went to Stoddert Elementary School, Gordon Junior High, and Western High School.  Our uncle owned a deli that occupied the current Rocklands space. We understand and support small businesses, which have been a part of our family background for many years and continue to be part of our family.

As we approached the end of Max’s current  lease, we recognized that as new owners of the property we needed to look ahead as to the best long term use of the property.  We reached the decision some time ago to pursue other interested parties in the property.  Max’s lease was set to expire on June 30, 2013 and the lease did not contain a right to renew.

While considering the best use of the space in 2416 Wisconsin, we recognized that our family has always had a positive relationship with John Snedden, the founder and owner of Rocklands, and this Winter we approached Rocklands about leasing 2416 Wisconsin. For many years John had informally expressed to Ruth Bassin (our mother) his interest in expanding his space if the property next door were ever to become available.  We understand he made the same request to the owners of the property on the other side of Rockland’s as well.

Throughout all this, it is very important to note that while Rockland’s had expressed interest in this property for some time,  when we made the decision to seek a new long –term lease last year, we had no formal arrangement with Rockland’s at the time.   We did know of John’s interest from our mother, and we knew that local patrons have been asking for them to offer more seating since they first opened their doors.  We also knew John and his long standing dedicated staff as both excellent stewards of the property and committed members of our community.   Many of John’s employees have been with him since he first opened more than 20 years ago.

In offering John the lease we sought to support his efforts to improve the service that he provides to the Glover Park community.  We are saddened to hear that members of the community have taken upon themselves to be critical of and abusive to John over what is our decision to allow him to expand his business.

In October of 2011 Max had requested a lease extension and was told that Ruth Bassin was not interested in discussing an extension more than a year and a half before its expiration date.  Max again inquired about a lease extension in July of 2012.  In the Fall of 2012 Max was informed that we would not extend the lease.  It is not clear why  Max chose to think that the lease would be extended. In the beginning of May 2013 Max was given a written notice to vacate when his lease expires on June 30, 2013.

These properties are small spaces, and as the current owners we ultimately decided that it made sense to combine 2416 and 2418 Wisconsin into a single retail space that could support a larger restaurant under a new, long-term lease agreement.  As landlords and owners we feel comfortable with our decision to consolidate the two spaces and offer a friendly locally owned restaurant an environment where families and friends can come together in Glover Park twelve months of the year.

Some community members have suggested we honor a request to delay Max’s lease expiration for the summer period should Max need time to make plans for his business.  At this time, however, we have not received a definitive proposal from Max or his attorney regarding a short term extension.

Barbara Bassin
Gail Bassin

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