A new use is in store for an old Route 309 watering hole.Developer Abe Atiyeh (lehighvalleylive.com file photo)
Lehigh Valley developer Abe Atiyeh has purchased the old Montana West nightclub in Richland Township and has plans for a Mexican restaurant there, he said Tuesday.
The 17-acre property in upper Bucks County sold for $750,000 in a deal handled by NAI Summit, the real estate company said. NAI Summit represented the seller, New Millenium Bank.
Atiyeh said his company is working on repairing the property now and making it available to multiple tenants.
He said he signed a lease last week with operators of a Mexican restaurant that he didn't yet want to name. It will go into the old nightclub space and banquet hall, and he said he expects it to open within about three months.
The main building has room for another 3,000-square-foot restaurant and two retail shops that Atiyeh said he also hopes to fill. The large parking lot could be divided and accommodate two pads for sale or lease to other businesses, he said.
"There's a lot of real estate that's underutilized and under-performing there," he said. "We're in the middle of getting it all cleaned up and ready."
Montana West, a once-popular western nightclub with a mechanical bull and spacious dance floor, closed in 2010. After that, Wonderland Castle, a family-themed entertainment complex, moved in for a short while before folding.
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The building previously held a New Orleans Steakhouse and the old Benetz Inn, said Richard Brittingham, assistant township manager and zoning officer.
While there are no plans filed yet for the building, Brittingham said, the property has received an application for a digital billboard. The 300-square-feet billboard would be double-sided and stand 25 feet high, Brittingham said.
Atiyeh said the billboard will advertise his senior living facilities, Saucon Valley Manor and Whitehall Manor. He said he has no plans to sell advertising to others.
"It's for internal advertising for my own company," he said.
Atiyeh said his senior living buildings have gotten considerable interest from the Quakertown area. His newest one, Bethlehem Manor in the old Rosemont Elementary School building at 815 Pennsylvania Ave., is expected to open in about two months, he said.
The Richland Township planning commission recommended approval of the billboard last week and a conditional use hearing is set before township supervisors on March 14, Brittingham said.
The township has two other digital billboards along that stretch of Route 309, though none are as large as the 10-feet-by-30-feet one that's proposed, according to Brittingham.
Jim Deegan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jim_deegan. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.
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