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Popeye’s goes up

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Progress continues on new restaurant

  • Popeye’s goes up
    CHRISTIAN MCKEARNEY/Staff

An unsually wet winter left the old Toyota property on North Columbia Street looking like a mud bog.

Now, however, it’s back to work at the site of the new Popeye’s Louisiana kitchen restaurant, which was framed by construction crews earlier this week.

The restaurant ownership group initially submitted its site plans to the Planning & Zoning Office in August, and the eatery originally was scheduled to open at some point during the first quarter of this year. Then came the rain, however.

The property, located near the corner of North Columbia and Dunlap Road, was part of a larger purchase by a Florida-based development group in 2016 for $1.6 million. The property later was subdivided, and Panda Express bought one of the parcels for $810,000. The Popeye’s ownership group later leased the middle parcel, while the parcel closest to the intersection remains available for lease or purchase.

The new Popeye’s will mark the company’s second attempt to crack the Milledgeville fried chicken market. Popeye’s previously had a location at the corner of Roberson Mill Road and Dunlap Road. That Popeyes closed abruptly roughly 10 years ago, however.

Despite being located in the Deep South and in the heart of fried chicken country, Milledgeville hasn’t always been an easy place for corporate fried chicken restaurants. Popeye’s previously failed in its first try in Milledgeville. The old Church’s Chicken is now a Dairy Lane. The old KFC on the south side of Milledgeville was demolished and is now a Dollar General. Also, the northside KFC has closed and changed ownership groups several times over the year.

A target opening date for the new Milledgeville Popeye's has yet to be set.