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Published: Tuesday, 11/6/2012

Auction set for site at Docks

Admiral’s American Grill closed after less than 18 months

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Lisa Schnabel, left, finishes up serving a table for customer Robin Reid, right, at the Admiral's American Grill. Lisa Schnabel, left, finishes up serving a table for customer Robin Reid, right, at the Admiral's American Grill.
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The former Admiral’s American Grill is going up for auction.

The riverside restaurant at The Docks complex in East Toledo closed Sept. 30, less than a year and a half after opening in what previously had been the Navy Bistro.

In closing, Admiral’s ownership turned the lease and all the restaurant’s contents over to Genoa Bank.

The bank is working with Pamela Rose Auction Co. to sell the restaurant and a connected banquet facility — either in one fell swoop or piece by piece.

“It’s turn-key right now,” auction house owner Pamela Rose said. “Someone could just walk in and they’ve got everything they need — the liquor license, the restaurant equipment. Everything is intact right now.”

The auction is scheduled for Nov. 13. Buyers have three options: purchasing the equipment and fixtures in bulk, purchasing the site’s two liquor licenses, or purchasing all the contents, the licenses, and assuming the existing lease, which has four years left and two 10-year renewal options.

Bank officials will be on hand to review winning bids. If they aren’t satisfactory, a back-up date for an absolute piece-by-piece auction is scheduled for Nov. 16.

Admiral’s struggled during its time there, something ownership blamed partly on a lease dispute with Dashing Pacific Group Ltd., which owns The Docks complex.

Admiral’s parent company, Docks Venture LLC, signed a 25-year lease with Dashing Pacific in March, 2011, for the former Navy Bistro, the attached banquet facility, and the former Tango’s Mexican restaurant. Docks Venture operated Admiral’s and the banquet facility. It subleased the smaller restaurant spot to Mexican restaurant chain El Vaquero.

In January, Docks Venture filed a lawsuit against Dashing Pacific, alleging the company hadn’t followed through on lease terms that stipulated it would separate utility lines and metering for the two restaurants. The firm argued that intertwined utilities made it difficult for the two businesses to accurately manage their utility bills.

On Oct. 2, after Admiral’s closed, Judge James Bates of Lucas County Common Pleas Court ruled Dashing Pacific was in violation of the lease and ordered the company to correct the distribution lines within 30 days.

In an Oct. 16 filing, Dashing Pacific managing member Jimmy Wu told the court the company had received a $75,000 estimate to perform the ordered work and was seeking additional quotes.

Dashing Pacific filed for and was granted a 60-day extension.

The company also has filed an appeal of the ruling with the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals.

El Vaquero remains open and up to date on rent.

Asked for comment on the auction and its desire for the future of the restaurant space, Dashing Pacific Group gave The Blade this statement: “Our goal is to see The Docks as a thriving entertainment and dining destination. Of course, the final determination on the use of the space will be market-driven. Due to the pending litigation, it would not be appropriate to comment on the auction.”

While the location is a blessing, for many restaurateurs the size could be a curse.

At more than 16,000 square feet, the restaurant is big. And although at $7 a square foot, rent is reasonable, it still adds up to a large monthly bill.

“That’s a lot of rent to cover,” said Germano Bressan, a commercial real estate agent with Signature Associates. “I think the biggest issue here is the size and someone being able to manage something that large.”

Mr. Bressan, who isn’t involved in the sale, thinks few local restaurateurs would be able to take on something so big.

Still, it’s a storied location with a view that’s hard to beat.

“Everyone in northwest Ohio knows this location, and I think the region would like to see a go-to, landmark restaurant be there,” Ms. Rose said.

Ms. Rose said the firm is seeing interest and has registered bidders, but she declined to identify any possible suitors.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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