Old building, new life – Former Kmart on Route 2 has a host of new tenants
Jim Franco – Reporter Spotlight News
LATHAM — The vast majority of the former Kmart plaza on Route 2 has been vacant since the department store closed a number of locations across the country in 2014.
A gym, formerly Gold’s Gym and now Vent Fitness, has doing business on the east side of the building for at least a decade, and there are plans well in the works to breathe new life into the rest of the 130,000-square-foot building that sits on about 12 acres along one of the town’s major, but for years forgotten, thoroughfares.
A restaurant, the Scarlet Knife, is currently under construction and should open sometime in September, said the building’s owner since 2017, Bill Lia, who also owns Vent Fitness. In between the two anchors, there is a rock climbing gym, a dog daycare franchise, a golf sports bar and lounge and a wholesale company that sells grain to the craft brew industry getting ready to take up residence.
“We were a tenant there for a number of years and when Kmart went out of business we had another discussion with the landlord, and it was a good couple years of negotiation to get there, but we always had a vision for turning the building into something better than what it was,” Lia said. “Right now the restaurant is working on its façade and Vent has had its own. We are re-designing the rest of the façade and between the two there will be four or five new store fronts.”
The Scarlet Knife, a farm-to-table restaurant, will be about 15,000 square feet and will be operated by Paul Dimm, a New Jersey based chef with decades of experience in the restaurant industry. Based on reports, the restaurant will seat about 300 people with a patio and a room dedicated to deserts. Dimm has had two job fairs already looking to hire everyone from chefs to wait staff and bartenders, and has photos of a brand new open-style kitchen on his social media sites.