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easySpeak owners continue Milford investments

Katie Tabeling
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The old Milford Bank has been bought by the Kings, marking their third property buy in downtown Milford in the last year. | DBT PHOTO COURTESY EASYSPEAK SPIRITS

MILFORD — easySpeak Spirits owners Zack and Marissa King have bought a 1940s bank that sits in the heart of downtown Milford, with eyes to branch into new business and revive the growing town.

The Kings bought 1 NW Front St. for $400,000 as of Dec. 12, and marks the fourth property the couple has bought since they opened their distillery off Route 14 in 2017. At this time, the couple has declined to reveal the business plan for the former bank on Front Street — except that easySpeak will stay on the highway.

“We bought this building for a whole different venture in Milford. Anyone in town knows my husband and I invest in real estate downtown,” easySpeak Spirits co-owner Marissa King told the Delaware Business Times. “We’re looking forward to working with the city and revealing our plans in time.”

Zach King first made a name for himself at the Rehoboth Beach restaurant and distillery scene with Delaware Distilling Company in 2012. Later he moved on with Marissa to open easySpeak in Milford, a 1920s era industrial-inspired venue that focuses on cocktails.

Since then, the couple has bought 614 NW Front St. — right across the former bank — and 39 N. Walnut St., within a year. The North Walnut Street building is a local landmark known as the “Penny Square” building because JCPenney operated a store there from 1929 to 1980. Right now, a salon, a beauty supply store, a church and DeMartin Renovations operate out of that store.

“The idea at the Penny Square is to put luxury apartments on the second floor, with some boutique shops on the first floor,” Marrisa King said. “There’s still a larger retail space that will need to be occupied. We have been working very closely with the city and the Milford Historical Society on that project.”

The Front Street property was marketed as a landmark building with an Art Deco gallery with 30-foot ceilings. The property also sits in a state Downtown Development District and may be tax exempt eligible for 20% of qualified real property investments made to residential commercial, industrial, and mixed-use buildings or facilities. Other gains may be had as the property also sits in a federally-designated Opportunity Zone.

“Milford has a lot of potential and the city has really welcomed us with arms wide open,” King said. “Our customers have been amazing and supporting us in the past, and we’re looking forward to giving back to the community and downtown Milford.”

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