China Pond abruptly closes with no timetable for cross-highway move

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After years of being part of Milton's downtown culinary scene, China Pond closed its doors on Monday. (Rochester Voice photo)

MILTON - It looks like Milton will have to take a rain check on its Chinese food for a while as the China Pond restaurant located in the Cumberland Farms building closed its doors on Monday.

Owner Mike Nie said he still has plans to open a new Chinese restaurant in the former Ray's Marina property that he bought several years ago, but there is no clear timetable, he said, adding he "had a lot of work to do inside."

Nie said he was closing at his current location because the lease was up and he didn't want to commit to another longterm rental agreement.

He was at the restaurant on Monday working on disassembling the eatery's kitchen equipment.

Nie said parking issues at the former Ray's Marina had been resolved, but there was still a lot of work to be done to make the new restaurant ready for business.

He declined to comment when pressed for an estimate of time to open the new business.

Nie's longtime plans have called for about half of the Ray's building to be used for his restaurant and one other, with the other half's use still to be determined.

Ray's Marina closed in 2012 due to sluggish boat and RV sales, and while the former marina's buildings on the Cumby's side of White Mountain Highway have been converted into a mini-mall, the lakeside headquarters had remained shuttered with no plans until Nie bought it in 2015.

Plans submitted to the town by Nie called for the new China Pond to remain a take-out restaurant with the other eatery - targeted for basic American food - expected to have a 30-seat capacity.

The painfully slow development of the vacant downtown building has proved troubling to both Milton residents and Nie, who had hoped to have his new China Pond up and running two years ago.

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