Fong’s Restaurant property won’t be demolished until 2017

By JAKE MEISTER - Freeman Staff

Nov. 19, 2016

OCONOMOWOC — The city of Oconomowoc will not be able to demolish Fong’s Garden, the 109 N. Main St. property it recently agreed to purchase from owner Tommy Lin, until it can inspect the property — which cannot occur before Jan. 1.

According to City Clerk Diane Coenen, on Jan. 1 the city will pay $1 million of the $1.25 million it agreed to pay for the property and the restaurant will cease all business. The remainder of the payment would be provided to Lee on the date of delivery of occupancy — essentially the date where everything has been cleared from the property. The latest the property can be cleared and the final payment made is March 31. Any items left in or on the Fong’s Garden site after that date will become city property.

The city won’t have the chance to inspect the property until the closing date at the earliest because of the terms of the sale, which were laid out by Lin. Coenen said any issues found with the property would become the city’s responsibility because the property is being sold “as is.” The date of the inspection is also contingent upon when Lin is made aware of the inspection, as the city is required to give him proper notice.

The inspection process

According to Oconomowoc Director of Public Works Mark Frye, the city will bring in a contractor that is certified in asbestos inspection. Should that contractor find asbestos, the city will request a proposal for a certified contractor to remove any of the asbestos that has been identified.

The city staff will also look to see if any fuel lines are present. If so, those lines will be removed, according to Frye.

We Energies will cut off the gas service from the building and the city will remove the electrical service. The contractor the city selects to demolish the building will be responsible for abandoning the sanitary sewer and water laterals, according to Frye.

When one door is demolished, another opens

To say liquor licenses are at a premium in Oconomowoc would be an understatement. Perhaps that is why Coenen’s been receiving more phone messages since news of the city’s agreement with Fong’s Garden broke.

Coenen said a number of individuals have contacted the city to inquire about the liquor license that will be made available when Fong’s Garden ceases operation. However, she said, the city will not accept any applications for the license until the business officially closes. Once the application period is opened, any interested party is free to fill out the paperwork, which would have to be examined and approved by the Common Council.

When contacted by The Freeman, Lin declined to comment.