Signs of New Life, Again, at the Panda Inn | Business | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Signs of New Life, Again, at the Panda Inn 

Local Matters

BURLINGTON -- The soy sauce bottles may finally be cleared off the tables at the Panda Inn. On January 3, Pomerleau Real Estate delivered architectural drawings and a building proposal for the Shelburne Road property to Burlington's Planning and Zoning Department. The plans show an 11,500-square-foot Kinney Drugstore on the site.

The Design Advisory Board will discuss the proposal at its meeting on January 17 at 3 p.m. Ernie Pomerleau, president of Pomerleau Real Estate, which is representing Kinney, says the company would like to demolish the building and begin construction this summer.

The Panda Inn building has been vacant since Davis Chan murdered his business partners there in 1999. Kinney Drugs bought the site last summer. The Delaware-based company had optioned the land to build a drugstore two years ago, but the deal fell through after neighborhood opposition.

Kinney learned from that process, Pomerleau says. "We've really taken seriously the comments." He notes that the new plans, for example, make the building more accessible to pedestrians on Shelburne Road. Unlike many drugstores, which feature entrances tucked back by the parking lot, the entrance to this building will be on Shelburne Road. The architects have also cut back on parking, added brick columns in the front, and changed the color scheme and window treatments to fit the streetscape. Pomerleau calls it "a more urban design."

He stresses that it's important the building be inviting not just to commuters but to neighbors and passersby. That corner has long been a community gathering place, Pomerleau says. Many Burlingtonians still remember it as the old Howard Johnson's. Pomerleau certainly does. He was involved in an altercation there as a teenager. "I was trying to protect a fellow member of Rice High School," he explains, "and somehow I got thrown through a plate-glass window."

Pomerleau says that Kinney, a family-owned company, recognizes the building needs to fit in with the neighborhood -- hence the modifications. "It won't look like every other drugstore in the world," he says. "At least that's my hope."

But even the new design may not make the neighbors happy. Kathy Sweeten, who lives near the site on Prospect Parkway, opposed the project the first time around. She says the developers have been good about following up with neighborhood concerns, but she worries that they haven't addressed the main one -- a proposed driveway that would steer traffic from the drugstore parking lot onto her street. The new plans still show an entrance from Prospect Parkway.

Sweeten says she plans to attend the DAB meeting on the new proposal. "I do think we need a drugstore in that space," she says. "But not with an entrance on Prospect Parkway."

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Deputy publisher Cathy Resmer is an organizer of the Vermont Tech Jam, and compiles a weekly tech e-newsletter. She also oversees Seven Days' parenting publication, Kids VT, and created the Good Citizen Challenge, a youth civics initiative. Resmer began her career at Seven Days as a freelance writer in 2001. Hired... more


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Business

  • Mascoma Bank Is Helping Hula Transform Into a Lakeside Tech Hub
  • Mascoma Bank Is Helping Hula Transform Into a Lakeside Tech Hub

    The 15 acres of Burlington beachfront property once owned by Blodgett Oven is a “Qualified Opportunity Zone.” To redevelop it, “we were going to need some advice,” said owner Russ Scully, “somebody who would help us with the ins and outs of all the financing involved.” Enter Mascoma Bank, which has been there for Hula from day one. (Paid Post)
    • Oct 23, 2020
  • When August First Needed a PPP Loan, Mascoma Bank Made It Easy
  • When August First Needed a PPP Loan, Mascoma Bank Made It Easy

    When the pandemic closed August First, co-owner Phil Merrick hoped a federal loan could float the Burlington bakery-café. At the time only Mascoma Bank made the Paycheck Protection Program info easy to find. “They actually knew what was going on,” said Merrick. He moved the restaurant’s accounts to Mascoma, and secured the loan August First needed to survive (Paid Post).
    • Oct 16, 2020
  • Mascoma’s Innovative Loans Brought a Grocery Store — and Banking — to Burlington’s Old North End
  • Mascoma’s Innovative Loans Brought a Grocery Store — and Banking — to Burlington’s Old North End

    Redstone managing partner Erik Hoekstra, who lived in Burlington’s Old North End for 17 years, knew firsthand just how badly the neighborhood was in need of both a grocery store and a place to bank. To solve both problems, he turned to Mascoma, where an innovative loan product helped bring Jake’s ONE Market — and a new bank branch — to life. (Paid Post)
    • Oct 9, 2020
  • More »

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation