Development

Former Phat Burrito building has a new owner – for $2.7 million

The bright yellow former building of longtime South End eatery Phat Burrito has been purchased by a local real estate firm for $2.7 million.

Asana Partners bought the 0.77-acre site along the Blue Line light rail, including several buildings, from Heath Properties in a deal that closed March 14, real estate records show. Sam Judd, Asana Partners’ chief investment officer, said the company plans to reuse the existing buildings on the site with a mix of new shops and restaurants.

“We just think it’s a great piece of real estate,” said Judd. The building is just down the street from Asana Partners’ offices on Camden Road. “We like the uniqueness of the buildings and the location of the light rail.”

Phat Burrito closed in February after nearly 20 years in business. The company was one of the original South End pioneers when it opened in 1998, nearly a decade before the Blue Line, when the area was still largely disused industrial buildings. Owner Stephen Justice cited parking difficulties brought on by redevelopment nearby as the main cause of the closure.

Asana Partners has been making big purchases in close-in neighborhoods. In November, the company bought the Design Center in South End for $42.7 million. Asana also bought a strip shopping center in Elizabeth, at Seventh Street and Pecan Avenue, for $7.65 million. And in December, Asana paid $1.9 million for the former Southend Interiors building at West Tremont Avenue and Hawkins Street.

Asana Partners was founded in 2015 by three partners formerly with retail center developer Edens (owner of Atherton Mill and Park Road Shopping Center), to buy and improve retail centers. The founders include Terry Brown, the former chairman of Edens.

The Phat Burrito closure and sale is just one of many changes in the area. Austin-based Dimensional Fund Advisors is building a new office building across the street, on the former site of the Common Market and other local shops. And up the street, music venue Amos’ Southend closed earlier this month.

Three local brokers brought the deal together: John Wentz with McKee Realty, Adam Williams with Legacy Real Estate Advisors, and Ray Killian with Queens Capital.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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