Chef Rocco Whalen says that a recent real estate listing for the Tremont building that houses Fahrenheit
was as much of a surprise to him as it was to the rest of the neighborhood. The listing of 820 Jefferson Avenue
by Progressive Urban Real Estate has an asking price of $1,490,000.
“This was out of left field,” Whalen says. “It’s not me selling the building; I don’t own the parcel. The owner of the building decided that he was going to list the building for 1.49.”
Whalen currently is building a new two-story home for Fahrenheit in the former John Q's Steakhouse property by Public Square. The chef’s plan was to convert the Tremont space into a new concept, which he already has mapped out in his mind.
The property owner, Mark LaGrange, sees the situation differently. LaGrange says that Whalen will reach the end of his lease in seven months and that he has thus far made no commitment to sign a new lease or make attempts to convert Fahrenheit to a new concept. It is LaGrange’s desire to sell the building to someone who will operate a new restaurant.
“His lease is up in March,” LaGrange reports. “He’s leaving and he’s given me no indication that he wants to stay. We’re getting pretty close; we’re six, seven months away. I figured I would give someone an opportunity to put a nice restaurant there to own the building.”
By listing the building now, while Fahrenheit is still operating, LaGrange says potential buyers would have a great opportunity to see the space in action.
“We have to keep Tremont alive,” adds LaGrange. “My main consideration is to keep a restaurant in there. I still own Edison’s and it brings me business when there are diners on either side of me.”
Whalen would love to own the building, but the price puts it out of reach, he says, “If it was about half that price I’d probably just grab it and call it a day, but that’s an awful lot of money.”