Rooftop patio proposed for former downtown coffee house
Updated 4:44 pm, Monday, January 23, 2012
The owner of the former space for the Las Vetas Lounge has filed a plan in Town Hall to construct a rooftop patio on the prime downtown site at the corner of Post Road and Sanford Street.
John Karageorge, a Fairfield native who owns several commercial properties around town, is proposing the addition as part of an ongoing renovation in an effort to bring "the right restaurant" into the space.
Karageoge said during an earlier interview that several local restaurateurs have expressed keen interest in leasing the space if patio were added.
"All the professional restaurateurs are saying that's going to be the home run," he said. "Everybody's asking for it."
The rooftop patio project would entail installation of a roughly 700-square-foot patio covering half the roof, a balcony and two interior staircases to access the patio, Karageorge said.
The proposal is slated to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday, Feb. 2, to waive the building's street line and rear yard setback, both of which are closer than regulations allow, and a requirement for 10 parking spaces.
Attempts to speak with Karageorge concerning the filing were unsuccessful.
The addition of a rooftop patio could benefit downtown by bringing more people to the area, said Jori Tallman, an employee with La Moda Fashions, a clothing store on the other side of Sanford Street.
"I'd think it'd be great," she said.
After Las Vetas left the spot in October 2009, Karageorge received town approval to change the use from restaurant to retail so that William Auer and Susan Dederick, owners of Centro Ristorante & Bar, could open an all-natural eatery there. They backed out their plans for a proposed restaurant about a year ago yet Karageorge continued with a renovation that entailed installing a basement, new electrical wiring and gas lines and making the space handicapped accessible.
The upgrade also includes building a 300-foot addition in a patio area between the former Las Vetas venue and an adjoining space, also owned by Karageorge and occupied by Eliza B. shoe store.