Sperryville landmarks: Bids taken

Two notable commercial enterprises in Sperryville are apparently under contract to potential new owners.

The Thompson family’s Thornton River Grille/Corner Store complex, on the market for an undisclosed price since early spring, is in a “study period” with a potential buyer, commercial real estate broker Wayne Dickson said Tuesday. The contract, which owner Ken Thompson described Tuesday as “unexecuted,” is covered by a confidentiality agreement; the would-be buyer and sales price remain undisclosed. The Thompsons reportedly have as many as three offers on the businesses, which also include Rudy’s Pizza and a catering operation.

The artists studios of River District Arts in 2012.

The River District Arts building, nearly a year on the market, received a late offer last week from Chris and Caroline Parrish of Viewtown, according to Dickson — who is also representing RDA owners Jerome and Lucille Niessen. The Niessens, who will be in Africa on an extended assignment and decided last month to ask the artists who lease studio and gallery space to leave by June 1 while they mothball the still-unsold building, informed the artists by email of the latest offer.

Chris Parrish, a county supervisor in the Stonewall-Hawthorne district, offered $1.1 million for the building — but, reached Tuesday night, said the offer is covered by a contract contingent on a 60-day study period, during which “everything could change,” depending on the results of inspections and other evaluations.

Parrish said he asked the Niessens that the artists who’ve not yet left the building (some but not all have moved out) be allowed to remain; he said the Niessens couldn’t make that guarantee, but Jerome Niessen’s email to artists on Monday referred questions about staying on in the building to the Parrishes.

The Niessens rejected an offer two weeks reported as $1.1 million from a group headed by Washington real estate broker Butch Zindell; that offer, later clarified by Zindell, was actually for $1 million, to be financed for the group by Union Bank & Trust. The Niessens were asking $1.8 million for the large former apple packing house in Sperryville’s River District, later reduced to $1.4 million. Jerome Niessen has estimated with the improvements made since they purchased the building seven years ago — including a full-service restaurant space, empty for more than a year — the place was worth $2.8 million.

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