After nearly 50 years in business, Captain White Seafood City is leaving the wharf in southwest DC. Two of the three barges that make up its open-air floating fish market were detached from the pier and towed by boat down the Potomac River today. Captain White will continue his limited wharf operations from the third barge until December. The seafood supplier plans to eventually move to another location that has yet to be announced in the area.
“You’re going to have to ask the developers next door why,” co-owner Pete White said when asked about the move. (White is one of the sons of longtime owner Billy Ray White, who died in a car crash last year.)
The departure is the culmination of a legal battle Captain White has waged with Wharf developer Hoffman-Madison Waterfront and the DC government over the past several years over the complexity of its leases and the $ 2 billion development. dollars from the southwest waterfront. In 2015, Captain White and neighboring Salt Water Seafood filed a lawsuit alleging that the developer and the city were conspiring to get them out of business. They claimed the developer trespassed on their leased property, blocking access points, towing their vehicles and otherwise interfering with their operations. They also alleged that the eviction notices were unjustified.
Mark Dorigan, CEO of Hoffman & Associates, told the Washington Business Journal when Captain White’s landlord refused to provide a signed lease or pay rent. Dorigan also claimed the company was leaving its delivery trucks in a public parking lot and making unauthorized changes to its space, among a series of other allegations.
In March 2021, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the fish market leases were void and that Captain White and Salt Water Seafood were month-to-month tenants. The most recent court record, from October, shows that plaintiffs and developers have reached an agreement to dismiss all claims after certain obligations are met by November 30, when Captain White says that he will leave the platform completely.
“Over its centuries of existence, the Municipal Fish Market has been home to dozens of vendors of different fish, produce and food and will continue to do so after the departure of Captain White, the remaining beloved Jessie Taylor Seafood. the anchor point of the market. Hoffman-Madison Waterfront said in a statement.
“Years before construction began on The Wharf, The Wharf development and operations teams worked tirelessly with district officials to provide customers with additional parking, security and sanitation services for help preserve and develop the existing clientele of the municipal fish market.
Hoffman-Madison Waterfront remains committed to preserving the legacy and vibrancy of the Municipal Fish Market which serves as a true gathering place for DC and will continue to carry on the rich tradition of small local vendors selling fresh and affordable seafood at The Wharf. for years. to come.”
White declined to comment further on the seafood supplier’s relationship with the developers of Wharf. As for the new location?
“It will be local,” White says. “I don’t know if it will be DC or not, but it will be nearby.”