Despite rumors, Hooters and Applebee’s won’t be among them. They are not in serious negotiations at this time, Lindsay said.
“I can almost assure you … Hooters isn’t coming,” Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Judd Burkhart said.
Lindsay reiterated the mayor’s comments on the possibility of the “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined” chain known for its hot wings and scantily clad waitresses opening a franchise in Fort Oglethorpe.
Hooters’ official statement obtained via their website states: “Building a restaurant and getting permits and licenses is a tough job. Taking a page from a bureaucrat’s book, we cannot confirm or deny if we are coming to your city until the restaurant is well under way. By then you’ll know it’s a Hooters.”
“I’m the first person to know the truth. Businesses contact me to get vacancy listings, pricing, and planning permits,“ Lindsay said.
Hooters: Not likely, especially in the near future.
Applebee’s: For now, it’s still no
Home Depot: Under construction.
Target: For now, no. Market not right yet.
Panera Bread: Under construction. Scheduled to open Aug. 5. Also in the same shopping center: art shop, cell phone business and barber shop.
Others: Since the liquor by the drink was passed, four other restaurants have expressed interest in the Parkway. But officials aren’t publicly saying who they are.
Applebee’s has shown interest in the area for the past three to four years, said Lindsay, but for now that’s still a “no.”
“I can neither confirm nor deny” is the corporate party line when it comes to new business locations.
Don Harrison, Home Depot’s East Coast operations spokesman, told The Catoosa County News in October 2004 that Fort Oglethorpe was not listed on the new construction project list through October 2005.
“It’s not something I’m going to address one way or the other,” Harrison said at the time. “The minute I confirm that we are looking at land anywhere, the price of that land goes through the roof.”
On Nov. 22, 2004, Home Depot finalized the purchase of a parcel of land on Battlefield Parkway where it is currently under construction for a new store.
Lindsay was able to give a no, or at least a “not now,” to the rumor that the retail chain Target would be opening a Battlefield location.
“Target told me ‘we are not coming, the market is not right at this time,’” Lindsay said.
With the liquor-by-the-drink law that passed in March with 55 percent of the vote, Fort Oglethorpe’s market is right for other businesses, Lindsay said.
“The day after the March 15 special election four restaurants called to find out if it had passed,” he said. “Upon hearing the news it had, they said they would be coming.”
Fort Oglethorpe appeals to businesses for other reasons, too. Lindsay said the cleanliness and growth of the area draws business interest. He said the city’s sign ordinances, which guard against cluttering, also help.
But Lindsay is concerned the new smoking ban may drive businesses over the state line, but only time will tell.
While he could only speak in general terms about new businesses, he said he should be able to confirm names by September.
The changing face of Battlefield Parkway
The Battlefield Parkway of today bears little resemblance to the road that opened in 1972. In fact it has seen major changes just in past two years.
O’Charley’s restaurant opened in March 2003 and was closely followed by Quick Lube, Walgreen’s pharmacy, Northwest Georgia Financial Centre, Logan’s Roadhouse, and Carmike Battlefield 10 Cinemas.
Panera Bread and Home Depot will be two of the newest additions and are both still under construction. Home Depot has little more than broke ground, but Panera is scheduled to open Aug. 5.
Rain delayed the opening that was originally scheduled for July. Panera began on-site recruitment of employees July 5 to work the new 3,800-square-foot store, said Tom Krings, an operating partner in the chain. He said the business will hire about 50 people and that bakers were already training at other store locations.
David Williams will be the new location’s general manager. He said he received over 140 application last Tuesday and would be at the store accepting applications until the opening.
Krings said Panera decided to locate on Battlefield Parkway because “demographic research shows that Fort Oglethorpe is growing by leaps and bounds.”
The new building where Panera is located has space for other businesses.
“There will be an art shop, a cell phone business and a men’s haircut place, or barber shop as it were, and that leaves 1,000 square feet still available for another business,” Krings said.
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