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Patterson-Woods Commercial Properties / CORFAC International Facilitates Historic Odessa Lease to Noted Delaware Restaurateur

Category: Notable Transactions

Odessa, Delaware (October 17, 2011) - Patterson-Woods Commercial Properties / CORFAC International, a leading full-service commercial real estate provider serving the Delaware market, today announced that one of its state's top restaurant operators, Robert E. 'Bob' Ashby, has leased and is completing the furnishing plan of the historic Brick Hotel in Odessa, DE with plans to open a restaurant called Cantwell's Tavern in early December this year.

Cantwell's Tavern, LLC (Ashby is managing partner) completed a 10-year lease with options to extend its occupancy. Terms of the lease were not disclosed. The owner of the property, which originally opened in 1822, is the Historic Odessa Foundation. Joseph Latina, a partner with Patterson Woods Commercial Properties/CORFAC International, was the only broker involved in the transaction.

Located just two miles from Delaware Route 1 and near U.S. Route 13, the historic town of Odessa has been left relatively untouched by suburban development in recent years, while new residential neighborhoods have sprouted up in nearby communities. The original town of Odessa has retained much of its 18th century charm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to a National Historic Landmark and two National Park Service Network-to- Freedom sites.

"When Joe called and we took a look at this classically beautiful hotel, my first thought was that Odessa and Middletown reminded me of the Pike Creek area where I bought my first restaurant; it has a lot of new homes and improved lots ready for additional housing so it is a good market for a restaurant with long-term growth prospects. It really piqued my interest from the very beginning," said Ashby.

Ashby's group is completing the furnishing plan on the Brick Hotel to operate the property as a restaurant. The majority of the structural renovation, which included the construction of a new wing, was managed by the Historic Odessa Foundation. Reproduction lighting fixtures were recently installed that reflect the early period of the hotel when candles offered the only light, according to Ashby. The total cost of the furnishing plan is expected to be in excess of $500,000.

The 8,000-square-foot Cantwell's Tavern was originally called the Cantwell's Bridge Hotel and will only operate as a restaurant and special events venue. The first floor of the three-story building will constitute the restaurant and tavern and the second floor will be designated a multipurpose space with event dining and meeting space.

"The minute I first sat down with the Historic Odessa Foundation and they started to explain to me and what they had and wanted, the first person I thought about was Bob Ashby," said Joe Latina. "I consider Bob to be one of the top restaurant operators in the state. The fact that he had purchased the Deer Park Tavern (on the University of Delaware campus) years ago and had a lot of experience doing major renovations of historical properties with a tavern concept made him the perfect choice," Latina added.

Ashby was recognized in 2005 by the Delaware Restaurant Association as "The Restaurateur of the Year." He started in the restaurant business in 1977 and bought his first restaurant in 1983. Ashby bought the Deer Park Hotel in 2001 and took six months to renovate that property back to its original condition. The famous poet, Edgar Allen Poe, was a frequent guest of the Deer Park Hotel. Ashby is also the principal owner of McGlynns Pub with locations in Bear, Dover and Pike Creek Valley in Delaware.

Ashby said the Cantwell's Tavern menu has not been finalized but will feature a gastro-pub style selection of foods such as a raw bar, brick oven pizza and some period dishes (Snapper Soup). The "farm-to-table" concept will have freshly baked breads made at the restaurant and meals will be moderately priced.

"We are thrilled to be working with Bob Ashby on this project," says Debbie Buckson, executive director of the Historic Odessa Foundation. "We see his vision and operation of Cantwell's Tavern as not only raising the nonprofit foundation's profile and enhancing our historic properties as a destination, but also providing the foundation with long term sustainable support."

The Historic Odessa Foundation owns and operates The Historic Houses of Odessa, a 30-acre enclave of 18th and 19th century structures located in the village of Odessa. The historic buildings and gardens along with a well-documented collection of more than 4000 objects and furnishings offer a unique picture of Delaware's colonial period in a rural village that played a vital part in America's commercial history. For more information, call 302-378-4119, or visit www.historicodessa.org.

The name of the new restaurant was inspired by the colonial era. The town of Odessa was originally called Cantwell's Bridge and named for Sir Richard Cantwell, who built the bridge and toll house on the Appoquinimink River in 1731. Odessa is approximately 16 miles from Greater Newark, Del., while Philadelphia is 55 miles north and Baltimore is approximately 80 miles west.