Thanks to Kirk for the tip on this – which has turned out to be more than a “simple” case of a business closing. SeaMart, the 16th SW/SW Holden (map) mini-market in Highland Park, is closing after Friday. Thanks to extensive research for WSB by contributor Deanie Schwarz, here’s what we’ve found out so far:
The property, which is also home to Zippy’s Giant Burgers and JoJo’s Fine Espresso, is in judicial foreclosure, according to SeaMart’s owner, Ed Choe, the building owner who’s been foreclosed on. Deanie spoke today with him as well as with the owners of Zippy’s and JoJo’s. They have both been trying to find out from the bank that’s taken possession of the building, UniBank*, what the status of their leases is – Zippy’s, for example, has a lease through next April but with a two-year-extension option, and the fate of that extension is now in question (they’re consulting a lawyer). Zippy’s owners Blaine and Rahel Cook say the bank asked them if they had any interest in buying the space and named a price that was too high, based on a valuation from two years ago. The bank reportedly already has bids for a possible “short sale” of the property. Meantime, store owner Choe says he tried to refinance but couldn’t qualify; he and his wife have had a tough year, losing a child a few months ago, and now their business, but he told Deanie, “We still have our health, and we will be OK.” They had been commuting from Edmonds and admit that was rough too. So what’s next? The only thing for sure is that SeaMart is closing after tomorrow and has a closeout sale under way on just about everything except beer and cigarettes. We’ll keep you updated on what happens with the rest.
*DECEMBER 31ST UPDATE: We have corrected the name of the bank in the story – it’s UniBank, not Union.