Wednesday, June 07, 2006

TOP STORY >> Starbucks sweetens city's cup of growth

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Several national and regional businesses have made plans to open outlets here.

Even though Jacksonville’s actual building permits have slowed the past two months, the city is on the verge of some major business growth if all the signed deals begin to fall into place.

A multi-screen movie theater is inked for the city, along with Papito’s, a Mexican-theme restaurant; Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits; Bank of the Ozarks and Cici’s Pizza.

Plus, Starbucks has just confirmed it will be opening one of its famed coffee outlets near the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, off John Harden Drive.

Only the developer of the retail center housing Cici’s Pizza has brought preliminary plans before the city’s planning commission.

Cici’s will be part of a 30,000 square-foot retail center to be built just north of the New China restaurant between Marshall and John Harden roads.

Bank of the Ozarks bought the space formerly occupied by Long John Silver’s in the Hasting’s shopping center on Main Street to build their first Jacksonville branch. The old seafood restaurant was torn down, the area cordoned off and a Bank of the Ozarks sign posted, but since then those plans have been waylaid by a lawsuit brought by First Arkansas Bank and Trust.

A judge recently sent the case back to the state’s bank commissioner to show proof that the city could support another bank.
Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits is slated to open in the old Burger King facility on Main Street across from Jacksonville Middle School. The lease has been signed for nearly a year now and franchise details recently worked out, but no plans have been brought to the city to remodel the vacant restaurant.

Papito’s Mexican Restaurant is slated to occupy the old Shoney’s building next to Western Sizzlin’ on John Harden. Although an agreement has been signed and signs are posted on the building, no plans have been brought to the city engineer for approval.

Starbucks, an upscale coffee outlet, is set to build between Burger King on John Harden and Cranbury Inn on an outparcel of land in front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The movie theater deal was inked about a year ago, but no visible preliminary work has been done to the site and no plans have been submitted.

Memphis-based Malco Thea-tres is set to build the multi-screen theater at Jackson Square Shop-ping Center, south of Main Street near Knight’s Super Foods.

Jacksonville hasn’t had its own theater since the two-screen Flick closed its doors in the early 1990s.