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Ch-ch-changes in WRJ, as the Polka Dot sign comes down and the Phnom Penh sign goes up (video)

A man prepares to remove the Polka Dot sign in White River Junction, Vt., on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. (Maggie Cassidy photograph)

White River Junction! You’re movin’ so fast!

In May, we told you about plans for Lebanon-based Phnom Penh Sandwich Station to open a second location in White River Junction at the former Polka Dot Restaurant site.

This afternoon, those plans became more visible as one sign came down and the other went up.

Check out video from our Facebook page below.

But what will happen to the Polka Dot sign?

In an email Monday morning, property manager Tim Sidore said that the Polka Dot sign will be displayed inside the new Phnom Penh. And he said that “things are shaping up inside!” (No word on a target date for Phnom Penh opening.)

Building owner Mike Davidson noted that that’s the same setup as the old Gulf sign displayed inside Lucky’s Coffee Garage, which was one of his many re-development projects throughout the Upper Valley.

(This section about the fate of the Polka Dot sign was added to this post on Monday morning.)

Customers drink their coffee on Jan. 19, 2018, at Lucky’s Coffee Garage in Lebanon, N.H. Mike Davidson, who renovated the former Gulf gas station, said that the old Gulf sign displayed at the coffee shop is a template for how the old Polka Dot sign will be displayed at the new Phnom Penh restaurant in White River Junction, another project of his. (Valley News – Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Of course, this scene played out against the backdrop of new construction.

Developer Bill Bittinger recently finished construction on that new building behind the restaurant, and it includes a mix of apartments and first-floor businesses, including JUEL Juice + Smoothies and Little Istanbul, a shop of Turkish wares run by the same folks who run the Tuckerbox Restaurant across the street. I can personally attest that JUEL Juice + Smoothies (which started out as a sweet little food “truck” and is now a full-on “modern apothecary cafe” with coffee, snacks and more) was bustling on Saturday!

So long, Polka Dot sign.

See you on the inside.

The Polka Dot building in White River Junction, Vt., on May 8, 2018, is one of the properties owned by developer Mike Davidson’s Execusuite. (Valley News – Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Polka Dot Diner takes a step toward reopening; former West Lebanon Library building for sale

The Polka Dot Diner is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

The Polka Dot diner building is a step closer to reopening after its new owner won site development plan approval on Monday night from the Hartford Planning Commission.

The move could lead to a reopening of the postage stamp-sized restaurant, which closed four years ago, after interior renovations authorized by the site plan are done.

Reopening the Polka Dot building roughly will follow the opening of two other new storefronts on North Main Street: Little Istanbul, a shop owned by Tuckerbox owners Jackie and Vural Oktay that will sell imported items and handcrafts from Turkey; and Juel Juice & Smoothies, a juice and smoothie bar owned by Julie Sumanis and Elena Taylor, who operate a juice cart of the same name.

One of the interior views of the former West Lebanon Library, which developer David Clem has on the market for $795,000. (Courtesy Snyder Donegan Real Estate Group)

Right across the river, developer David Clem has again placed the old West Lebanon Library building on the market, after an earlier attempt failed to attract a buyer.

The building on Main Street was listed earlier this month with a $795,000 asking price, and is being marketed as an “incredible office for an assortment of businesses, especially for a doctor, attorney or thriving tech company.”