It looks like it could really be possible: neighbors have another chance to save Mott’s Market –or anyway, one corner store in Southeast Capitol Hill.
Walter Street resident Noah Bopp said it’s been a two-month roller coaster ride, and they’re at the top again. “Basically, we thought we were closing up shop,” he said, laughing at his own choice of words. “We thought the building was sold. To have this quick reversal, the first thing we needed to do was figure out: is everybody still in?”
The group was only days away from making an offer on the 3,313 square foot, two-floor building when it was sold April 25 for $1.25 million. Now, it’s been relisted for $100,000 more. But despite the price –and interest rate– increase in the 38 days it was off the market, the group of neighbors banded together as Save Mott’s Market say they are only days away from making the offer again.
They’re still in, Bopp said. But they welcome as much help as they can get.
A Neighborhood Movement
The movement was founded on the porches of Walter Street SE, involved neighbors said.
Walter Street is a close-knit community that hosts events like July 4th parties, and, during the pandemic, a socially-distanced wedding, right in the middle of the street. “Our front porches are like a common area in a dorm, almost,” Bopp and Jordan LaCrosse said in a Zoom call during the first push. They’re two of the more than 25 people that are part of the effort.
When neighbors realized Mott’s was closing in early March, Bopp said, they felt gratitude but also sadness. The effort to preserve the corner store evolved organically from the conversations, LaCrosse said.
When they heard they had a second chance early this month, they immediately mobilized, holding meetings and beginning the formation of the LLC that would function as ownership.
But the economic situation has changed a great deal since April, when they first started the effort. Interest rates have skyrocketed, and the price of the building has increased $100,000. “I’m not sure the value of the building has changed,” Bopp observes.
The changing situation means changing terms of the effort to purchase the site. There are still multiple ways to get involved, whether you can invest time or money. The lender has indicated that investments should be for a minimum of $10,000 for individuals, so those who wish to contribute to the effort work on various committees to help formulate plans and get the word out.
The vision hasn’t changed, though: “The idea is to keep it in essence like it was,” Bopp said in a previous interview, meaning a convenient place to get essentials, but “with neighborhood enhancements” —an arts or performance element, perhaps, or a rotating counter selling goods produced by neighbors. In emails and phone calls, LaCrosse adds, neighbors reiterate four traits: they’d like a space that is safe, convenient, involved with the community and accessible.
Investors have already comitted $300,000. Bopp figures they need approximately $75,000 more to make their offer, which they hope to do by next week. That would cover the down payment and allow for carrying and closing costs.
Save Mott’s Market will hold a meeting Wednesday, June 15 at 8 p.m. Get the link and learn more about the effort to save Mott’s Market by emailing [email protected] or by visiting the website at www.savemottsmarket.com.
“There’s this rush of emotions,” Bopp said. “In this one little corner of today’s crazy world, maybe something really good is happening? I’ve got so much hope for this.”