Davidson’s bldg. for sale; plan to keep restaurant

Rick Davidson, his brother John and their wives Kerry and Pam own Davidson’s. Chronicle photo/Cathy DeDe
By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Davidson Brothers brewery/restaurant building downtown has been on the market for about a year — but a social media post last week of the Loopnet.com real estate investment Website just brought it to public attention.

Asking price is $1,995,000 for the two-story, 10,560 square foot building, touted for its exposed brick walls, “expansive” outdoor plaza, and annual traffic of 12,420 vehicles — “only 2%” trucks.

“The business is not for sale,” asserts Rick Davidson, who owns the 184 Glen building with his brother John, and their wives Kerry and Pam, respectively.

They purchased it in 1995 and opened the restaurant-brewpub in 1996.

Rick is the face of the business; he and Kerry run day-to-day operations. John is listed on Loopnet as the selling agent.

The listing suggests, “The business operation may be available for additional consideration,” but Rick predicts, “I’ll be running the restaurant until our son is out of school, and that’s when I’m 80. I love it now more than ever.” Besides, he says, “I can’t picture doing anything else.”

He says of the Loopnet offering, “We’re in no hurry; we have no plan to leave. If someone was interested in the building as an investment, we’d sell and lease it back to run the restaurant.”

Rick says, “The trend for the last 15 or 20 years is that you have professional, knowledgeable investment groups that own the properties. It’s becoming rare for retailers to own the building.

“Restaurants have such a low profit margin, the worst now I’ve seen in 26 years. Business coming in today is paying the bills you get today. It’s not the advantage it once was to own the real estate.”

“In a vibrant downtown like Glens Falls is, where an interested party owns the building, like Peter Hoffman does — quality projects, well done — that’s more valuable. These investors are upgrading the private infrastructure of the City.

“When we bought the building, it was a restaurant that had been owner-operated. After they closed, it just sat for a long time. If we’re leasing,” he says, referring to himself — “when Rick turns 85 and decides his son is through college and it’s been enough — a group of investors are more motivated to bring in a new business, to upgrade the property, build to suit. I would see that as a positive.”

“Due to staffing constraints,” particularly waitstaff and front of house, Rick said, the restaurant is open just four days a week, Thursdays to Sundays. “It’s more important that the people working with us enjoy it, and that the customers are happy, than to be open more than four days.”

They’ve scaled back from when they made their beers for regionwide distribution — including the ambitiously large facility they built themselves on Route 9 in Queensbury that is now owned and operated by Northway Brewing Company.

“Now we’re back to making the beers on-site, for the restaurant only,” Rick says. “I’m the brewer. It’s much better.”

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