BILLINGS — The Billings Heights Fuddruckers owner said Friday the restaurant will not reopen after fire gutted the bathrooms and contaminated air conditioning ventilation in the building early Thursday morning.
Owner Dave Diehl said the building and property is to be sold to an unnamed developer in November.
Diehl said the developer has plans to knock down the Fuddruckers restaurant and replace it with something that's not a restaurant and not retail.
Diehl said the transaction has been in the works for a few months.
Fire remediation experts told Diehl it would cost no less than $300,000 to repair the restaurant. He said it wouldn't make sense to make repairs only to have the structure torn down in a few months.
The time it would take to repair the restaurant would also take crews past November, when Diehl agreed to be out of the building.
According to state property records, the building at 875 Main Street was built in 1982. The building was appraised at $520,000 in 2019. With the land factored in, the property and building are worth about $1.2 million.
Diehl said the fire originated from an exhaust fan in the bathroom, destroying the men's and women's restrooms.
The air conditioning was also on at the time of the fire, spreading ash and smoke throughout the restaurant's ventilation system.
Diehl said he still has three years left on his franchise agreement with Fuddruckers, and would like to reopen if the right location presents itself.