WALLINGFORD — A highly visible transformation is underway at the former Neptune House on Route 5.
The popular diner, 1086 N. Colony Road, was known for offering a full menu at all hours and for its nautical theme. The restaurant closed in April after being in business for 32 years. That same month, Monroe-based Tartaglia Commercial Properties purchased the property for $1.25 million.
The restaurant has been gutted over the last few weeks, leaving it almost unrecognizable. A construction fence surrounds the property and debris can be seen in piles around the building. Most notably, the signature row boat that decorated the front of Neptune House is now gone.
“It’s still under construction because the building still looks like a diner,” Lorraine Tartaglia, of Tartaglia Commercial Properties, told the Record-Journal in July. She could not be reached Monday.
Two businesses, Verizon Wireless and DiBella’s Subs, are moving into the location, according to Tartaglia. While the remains of Neptune House look unusable at this point, new tenants are expected to move in later this fall.
“I don’t anticipate them moving in and opening until mid-November,” Tartaglia said.
Construction doesn’t involve the complete demolition of the former Neptune House building.
“They’re putting up an addition,” said Doreen DeSarro, the business recruiter for the town’s Economic Development Department. The 2,600-square-foot addition will provide for a total of 7,500 square feet at the site.
This will be DiBella’s third location in the state. The sub and grinder shop already has a location in Milford, at 1440 Boston Post Road, and Newington, at 3583 Berlin Turnpike.
While the sandwich shop and telecommunications store combination may sound like an unusual mix, it’s actually common, DeSarro said. DeSarro, of Glastonbury, said there is a jewelry store sharing the same building as a cellphone store in her hometown. Cellphone retail stores don’t need much space, so the shared locations are actually coveted, she said.
“Very seldom do you see them stand alone,” DeSarro said.