New Asian market and restaurant in the works in Kettering

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Signs of life at the old Colony Club property in Kettering

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A shuttered former nightclub that decades ago thrived by attracting diners from throughout southwest Ohio could be coming back to life soon in Kettering.

The owner of a Cincinnati-area Asian market has submitted plans to the city of Kettering for a new Asian market and restaurant at 2801 S. Dixie Drive. That space, next to Capri Lanes bowling alley, has fallen on hard times in recent years and has been vacant since El Rio Grande Mexican restaurant shut down a second and final time in 2015.

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The 10,500-square-foot building dates to the 1950s and enjoyed its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s as the Colony Club, a nightclub and restaurant that brought in big-band musical acts, drawing large crowds from throughout the region. After the Colony Club shut down, it was replaced by Mindy’s nightclub in the 1990s. The building later housed a series of restaurants, including Los 3 Amigos, El Rancho Grande and, most recently, El Rio Grande.

El Rio Grande shut down initially in 2012, later reopened, and shut down again in 2015.

>> RELATED: El Rio Grande shuts down in Kettering (June 2012)

Plans submitted to Kettering zoning officials by T.J. Fan and Norwood architect Randall Plikerd call for the space to house both a 4,700-square-foot Happy Asian Mart and an adjacent 5,800-square-foot Asian restaurant.

Fan, who operates Happy Asian Mart on Vine Street in Cincinnati, told this news outlet in a phone interview that he would like to open in two months. He said he wanted to wait before revealing details of his plans.

>> Dispute over Dayton nightclub’s lease triggers lawsuit

According to Montgomery County online property records, Happy Asian Mart LLC purchased the 2801 S. Dixie Drive property and building in May 2017 from Comerica Bank for $168,000. The property had been purchased in 2003 for $675,000.

It is not clear whether the project will come together as first proposed. The initial plans submitted to the city were returned with multiple notes, questions, and concerns from Kettering planning and zoning officials, and it appears the plans will have to undergo significant changes to meet code requirements.

>> RELATED: Vacant Kettering restaurant attracts city’s attention for wrong reasons (January 2016) 

In January 2016, the building was the subject of a building-code enforcement notice from city officials. Kettering Police noticed that the building was not secure from entry in the rear of the facility and notified the city’s building-code department. That led to the posting of an enforcement notice on the front door directed to the property’s former owners, ordering them to secure the building to prevent unauthorized access.

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