By Katy Savage
With the increase in real estate, blighted properties in the area are seeing new life. Dumpsters and trucks are gutting the insides of local buildings — some of which have been closed for years.
Killington’s former interim Zoning Administrator Chuck Claffey cracked down on abandoned properties in August 2021. Claffey sent the property owners a letter informing them they were violating zoning regulations. In Claffey’s letter, property owners were given 15 days to respond to notification of their zoning ordinance violations, provide a “plan for resolution” or be fined.
Jim Haff, who became the new interim zoning administrator in March, said some of the property owners put their buildings up for sale shortly after the letters were sent.
Hemingway’s Restaurant on Route 4 in Killington, which has been vacant since Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, was purchased in February for $260,000 by 22 Properties, LLC.
The interior of the building has an upstairs apartment, sits on 4.5 acres of land. It’s being gutted and it will be converted to apartment units.
The former four-star restaurant was named after writer Ernest Hemingway and owned by Ted and Linda Fondulas for nearly 30 years. It was sold at a foreclosure auction in 2013 for $55,000. The building sold again in 2015 for $115,000. It was listed on the market “as is” in 2021 for $150,000.
A former camp at 8284 Route 4 in Killington was demolished earlier this year.
Owner Charles Asadoorian purchased the property in 2006 for $100,000 and the “Campground, RV Park,” sat with a collapsing shack and an old camper for 15 years.
Asadoorian plans to build two single family homes or a duplex at the property.
A new Japanese restaurant called Yama Ramen opened in December in Killington.
The building at 2500 Killington Road, formerly housed Green Mountain College students and, prior to that, was the Killington Valley Inn.
The building was sold in June 2021 for $490,000. The new owner, Lindsay (“Lulu”) Ochman, said the community-style eatery is focusing on a wide variety of ramen and Asian foods with local ingredients.
The Boutique, a former gift shop at 225 Route 4 in Killington sold to Holly George of Bearforce One, LLC for $350,000 in February, town records show.
The 5,324 square foot multi-story building sits on two acres with parking and an upstairs office.
George, an Airbnb owner, is planning to convert the building to a laundry facility.
A new Indian restaurant is coming to the former Coffee Exchange in Downtown Rutland.
The owner, Sunita Dholakia, who runs the Just Threading beauty salon on Merchants Row with her mother, plans to open the new restaurant, called Masala Corner, at the end of April.
The building has been vacant since 2017.
“We are just waiting now for the state to come inspect for the final time,” Dholakia said.
Dholakia, who is from Mumbai, moved to Rutland in 2014, where her husband’s family lives.
“I’m a big foodie,” she said. “When I moved here, the main thing I was missing was my home food.”
Dholakia worked at a bank when she first moved to Rutland and cooked Indian food for her co-workers, which ended up being a hit.
“Everybody loves Indian food and it’s really healthy,” she said.
Dholakia, who has cooking experience in her home country, bought a gas station in Rutland last year with her husband, where they introduced Indian food. It quickly became the most popular food offering.
“We survived throughout the pandemic just because of Indian food,” she said.
Dholakia plans to have grab-n-go meals as well as a buffet.
“The first thing when you think of Indian food is it’s all about the curries, which is not always true,” she said. “Indian food has a lot of variety that people don’t even know about.”
Dholakia said opening plans have been delayed due to the pandemic. She said the interior of the building will mostly be the same as it was when it was the Coffee Exchange.