BRATTLEBORO -- The Kipling Cinema might still be standing, but an international grocery company's plan to demolish the building and put up a new store is still on track.
Aldi's discount grocers is based in Germany and has more than 3,000 stores across Europe and Australia, and about 1,000 stores in 31 states in the United States.
Locally, the company operates a store in Bennington.
Aldi's got its permit from the town this summer and has been trying to get the project started over the past few months. The Act 250 permit was issued in July.
The company wants to demolish the Kipling Cinema and construct a new grocery store at the location at 762 Putney Road.
When the company applied for its permit, the project was estimated to cost about $1.2 million, and plans included tearing down the Kipling Cinema and constructing a new building.
The Kipling Cinema closed in March 2011 and has been vacant ever since.
The project has already been held up by a series of delays.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation did not approve of the original traffic plan that would have changed how vehicles entered and left the parking lot.
Then the other tenants in Royal Square Plaza had to approve of the project and traffic changes and that took some time as well.
Brattleboro Planning Director Rod Francis said he was also wondering about the status of the project, but has been in contact with the developer and was reassured that the plans were moving forward.
"I inquired a little while ago and the property owners indicated that they were refining aspects of the project and now expect to go forward next construction season," Francis wrote in an e-mail.
Joe Molle, Investment Officer for Unison Realty Partners, the Cambridge, Mass.company that owns the property, said he is as eager as anyone to move the project along.
Molle said if everything had been worked out, some of the site work could have been started this year, but after the delays, and with winter approaching, it was decided to put off the work until 2013
"Things are proceeding," said Molle. "We tried our best to commence construction this fall. We knew this would carry over into 2013, and instead of getting the crews out there, and then back out, we decided to wait until the ground thaws in the spring."
Molle said his company will remove the Kipling Cinema, but then it will be up to Aldi's to build the new store, so he couldn't estimate how long it would take to get the new store open.
"This project is fully under way. We have our permits and it is good to go," Molle said. "The good news is that once we start, the work should be expeditious. We're all anxious to get going. It's taken a little longer than anticipated but we're all shooting for a 2013 opening."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org.