Oct 10, 2016, 11:55am EDT

Kenneth Hilario
Philadelphia Business Journal

A prominent restaurant space on City Avenue has become available for the first time in more than 50 years after Joe’s Crab Shack served its last meal, and the building owners say they have a “fresh opportunity” for the space at time when the area’s food-and-dining scene continues to flourish.

Joe's Crab Shack (foreground) in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, closed. The space is available for the first time in 50 years.

Joe’s Crab Shack (foreground) in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

The casual-dining, beach-themed restaurant from Houston, Texas-based Ignite Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: IRG) closed its doors in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania on Sept. 20, following other recent closures of the concept around the United States in the past year.

The restaurant space — located at the corner of Route 1 and I-76 — is now available for the first time in more than 50 years.

“The building owners are looking forward to a fresh opportunity to select a restaurant that best fits the needs and character of this high-profile site,” saidChristopher Robbins, CEO of The Robbins Cos., which owns the property along with the nearby 555 City Avenue, an 11-story, 128,000-square-foot office building.

Joe’s Crab Shack opened in 2012; it was originally an outpost of Red Coach Grill that was opened by Howard Johnson’s. It subsequently became a Charlie’s Place and then a Houlihan’s until it eventually became a Joe’s Crab Shack.

Joe’s had been operating under an assignment of the original 1962 lease, which was signed by Howard Johnson himself, according to Robbins.

Ignite Restaurant Group’s Northeast restaurants continue to ” perform poorly,” CEO Robert Merritt said in an investor conference call regarding the company’s second quarter 2016 financial results, which showed a 6.8 percent decrease at Joe’s Crab Shack.

“They really reflect an attempt to transition the brand … to a more upscale casual dining environment, which frankly the consumer didn’t respond well to,” Merritt said.

The Robbins Cos. is considering a number of other restaurant concepts, ranging in size from from 7,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.

Full article from Philadelphia Business Journal here.