It’s called the Shrimp Boat restaurant and if you’ve ever driven out of Capitol Hill on East Capitol Street you’ve seen it sailing toward you — paint peeling, windows mostly shuttered and a seaweed green awning that looks like it could collapse at any moment.
Built in 1953, the Shrimp Boat is something of a landmark but its run-down appearance on a highly visible corner in the Benning neighborhood, across from a Blue Line Metro station, has attracted the attention of officials who want to see it spruced up.
The restaurant, whose 1944 opening date actually pre-dates the building, is still open seven days a week selling shrimp, scallops, oysters and crab legs to a mostly carry-out crowd.
So what’s going on with the Shrimp Boat?
Well for one thing, the resaurant and the building it’s housed in could be yours for $1.5 million.
The owners of the 3,300-square-foot building, the family of Susan S. Lee, listed the building for sale in January with the $1.5 million price tag through Marcus & Millichap. Broker Ali Javad said 50,000 cars and 8,000 pedestrians pass the site daily and that the property could be combined with the parking lot next door into a mixed-use development.
Javad suggests interested buyers act quickly. “There has been amazing response,” he said. He also said the District government is eager to help interested builders fashion something new there. “The city is really interested in development of that corner,” he said.
But never fear, fried seafood lovers: The new owner would have the opportunity to keep the Shrimp Boat open.
Recently, the city and the Anacostia Development Corp. proposed a facade improvement for the building (complete with sidewalk café!), as it performed in other retail corridors (see rendering above), but the Shrimp Boat owners didn’t go along. “The owners of the Shrimp Boat would not commit to providing the owner-required contribution,” said Najuma Thorpe, spokeswoman for the Department of Housing and Community Development.
A call to the Shrimp Boat management was not be returned.
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