RDA proceeds with Ponderosa raze order

New owners already looking at taking it down

The Shawano Redevelopment Authority will move ahead with a raze and remove order against the former Ponderosa property, even though its new owners might take care of that without the order having to be executed.

Jeffery Phillips, an attorney representing VDG LLC, told the RDA via telephone Tuesday that the investment group has already contracted with a firm to raze the building, though there was no timeline for how soon that might happen.

The vacant Ponderosa restaurant at 1247 E. Green Bay St. was originally one of 15 properties included in a sweeping, half-million-dollar foreclosure suit against the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology.

The action was dismissed after VDG LLC reached an apparent agreement with the creditor, Wells Fargo Bank of Dallas. Details were not disclosed and are not filed in the court record.

The Ponderosa was carved out of that agreement and set aside for foreclosure.

VDG paid $330,000 to purchase the building at a sheriff’s sale in June.

VDG was incorporated in July 2015, according to the state Department of Financial Institutions, shortly before the suit was dismissed.

No other information about VDG is available, but Phillips said in an interview Tuesday that VDG is not in any way associated with SIST.

“There’s no involvement,” he said. “I’ve had no contact with them.”

Phillips told the RDA that VDG has had offers on the Ponderosa property that have been “all over the place,” but apparently so far not enough to cover the cost of their purchase of the property.

At this point, Phillips told the RDA, “they’re hoping to lose as little as possible or perhaps make a little bit of money on this thing.”

Phillips said VDG had hoped to sell the property by now.

“It wasn’t their intention to hold onto the property this long, and they don’t anticipate hanging onto it into the future,” he told the RDA.

Phillips said the property is in a “prime location” and might be more attractive to buyers once the building has been razed.

Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard, a staff consultant for the RDA, said the RDA and VDG seem to be on the same page.

“I think they’ve come to the same conclusion we have,” he said. “We’re in lockstep at this point about what we think is the best position for that property. Hopefully that results in some better offers for them so they can get it moving. We’re pleased to hear that’s the route that they’re going.”

Sheppard said it was the city attorney’s advice to proceed with the raze order, even though that seems to be VDG’s plan.

“If it doesn’t have to be executed, fine,” he said, “but it’s just not wasting any more time.”

SIST purchased the Ponderosa Steak House in 2003. The restaurant closed its doors in 2008 and the property has been sitting vacant since then.

The city sent a letter to VDG in October stating that the building “is dilapidated and so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use.”