Brookfield First Selectman Not Sure if J. Ramen Knew CT Was Taking Land
J. Ramen is a defunct Asian Ramen restaurant that operated at 316 Federal Road in Brookfield, CT. Last week, I wrote an article about how the building is set to be demolished and wondered why?
So, because I was curious, the topic was brought up in an interview and I started to hear from listeners telling us the State of Connecticut now owned the land and had plans to use it to improve that section of road and they'd need to knock down the building to accomplish that.
The more we heard from people, the more we kept hearing that the state had been planning this for years. That raised a lot of questions for us. J. Ramen wasn't in business long at all, and prior to them opening, they did a lot of expensive renovation on the building.
Why would a restaurateur spend so much time and money renovating a structure they knew would be taken by the State of CT? It didn't really make sense, unless the folks at J. Ramen didn't know what was happening, right?
Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn joined our sister station Wednesday (6/9/21) and touched on a variety of local topics, one was J.Ramen. Dunn was asked about the J. Ramen property.
Below is a transcript of part of that interview:
Lou Milano: J. Ramen in Brookfield is set to be demolished, right? So, I was told by someone that the state was going to take over that area -- this started like four years ago? To improve the safety of that intersection, is that correct?
Steve Dunn: Partially. six years ago after I originally took office, Devon, Do you know Devon McCafferey, she owns Chick-Fil-A?
Lou Milano: I do not.
Steve Dunn: Well, she's a really nice person. She owns Chick-Fil-A and there was a massive problem with coming North on Federal Road and make a left into Chick-Fil-A because there is no turn lane.
So, I went up to the commissioner Jim Rettinger, at that time, this was in January like a month after I took office. I took my Chief of Police, I took my head of Public Works, Devon came with us and I said to Jim Rettinger, here's what I want because Federal Road is owned by the State and they control it, here is what we want, we just want a left hand turn lane into Chick-Fil-A.
And, he said no. Why are you saying no? And he said you need a project number, I said OK how do I get a project number? Typical State stuff, so we finally get the project number and they come up with the original design. Guess what that left hand turn signal was going to cost?
Lou Milano: We are bad at this game.
Steve Dunn: $16 Million.
Ethan Carey: WHOA! To build a left lane into Chick-Fil-A?
Steve Dunn: No, because the state will only do what they call now complete streets, sidewalks, lights, all, bike lanes, everything and they were going to do from BJ's all the way up to Ramen House (J. Ramen).
Lou Milano: OK.
Steve Dunn: Right? So, we went back and forth and back and forth, and they finally came up with a plan that costs $6 Million. So, what's going to happen at Ramen House (J. Ramen) is that state has bought that property.
If you are coming from the Y, right, and you want to get on Federal Road you will now, in the future, make a left right through the Ramen parking lot.
Ethan Carey: OK?
Steve Dunn: And they are putting a light across from O'Connors, you know O'Connors? And there will be a traffic light there, and then if you want to go on Federal Road, you make a right.
Lou Milano: So my question is, then did J. Ramen know this, because they moved in after the state, or you and the state started this narrative, they moved in with the intention of doing business. COVID put them out of business, so what did Ramen House (J. Ramen) know about the State taking their land basically, not their land but where they meant to do business?
Steve Dunn: Yeah, so my understanding is the property was still owned by some people and the Ramen House (J. Ramen) people rented it. Right? Leased it from them and they did significant work inside. You know, a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of work. And then the State came up and said hey we're going to take this property. I do not know if the Ramen House (J. Ramen) knew that the State was going to do that. Everyone else was pretty aware of it.
Lou Milano: So, I'm glad. This is the answer that I wanted, I wanted it to not be your fault, and I also want to blame someone. I'm gonna get the state, ya know? If we find out that Ramen did not know that the state was going to take this property, that's wildly unfair.
Steve Dunn: I agree.
Lou Milano: Awesome, this worked out great.
Steve Dunn: If it's true that the people who own the property knew that the State was going to take it over and Ramen House (J. Ramen) came and did $200,000, whatever it was worth of work and they didn't tell them ahead of time, I would think they have a civil case.
A few footnotes about the situation and our interview with First Selectman Dunn:
- Yes both Selectman Dunn and I spent the majority of the interview calling the restaurant by the wrong name, but we will all make it through this tragic mistake alive.
- The "State" we kept referring to is the State of Connecticut, in case there is any confusion.
- When I said "awesome, that worked out great," I meant the interview worked out great, not the result for J. Ramen. If they went into the property at 316 Federal Road without knowing that the State was soon to take it over or buy it, that's awful and they were done wrong.
- I said it at the end of the interview on the Ethan and Lou Show Wednesday (6/9/21), I said it later in the same show and I'll say it again, the owners of J. Ramen, any business partners and/or the owner of the property at 316 Federal Road prior to the State owning it, are welcome on the show to explain exactly what happened.
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