Almanac

News - February 19, 2014

Menalto Corners retail center sold

• Tenants, including Cafe Zoe, in dark about future

by Sandy Brundage

Although community members urged the landlord to wait for an offer from his tenants, the sale of Menalto Corners, the Willows retail center that houses Cafe Zoe, proceeded without pause.

The 4,400-square-foot retail center at 1923-1929 Menalto Ave., which was listed at $1.45 million, sold in an all-cash deal on Tuesday, Feb. 11, to an as-yet unknown buyer, according to several sources.

The sale could mean that Cafe Zoe will have to find a new home. Owner Kathleen Daly told the Almanac that she, like two other tenants — Twig and Petals and Captivating Dance by Nona — had no lease under the previous owner. The fourth tenant, Habibi's Salon, was under contract.

The tenants learned about the possible sale in early January after negotiations over rent and utility increases fell apart.

Despite leaving a voicemail inquiring about the sale, they've heard nothing from their former landlord, Anatole Zelkin. His replacement has been equally silent.

Ms. Daly had been pursuing options to purchase the building herself with help from either investors or a small business loan. During its five and a half years at the retail center, her restaurant has become a fixture in the Willows community.

"We know nothing at this point," she told the Almanac. "We just really don't know. It's really kind of a mystery."

Residents expressed hope that the new landlord may see the value of the community's investment in the Menalto Center businesses; Ms. Daly said the tenants remain optimistic.

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