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ALACHUA – What is considered to be an eyesore by many may soon be replaced with a Zaxby’s restaurant.  City of Alachua officials have confirmed that staff met with Brooks Haisten, a Zaxby’s franchisee, to discuss the property commonly referred to as the “Huddle House.” The site is the location of a former Huddle House restaurant and fronts U.S. Highway 441 at the Interstate 75 interchange in Alachua.  City staff reportedly recently met in a “preplanning” conference with Haisten.

Haisten owns Chicken Foot Development, Inc., a Florida Corporation, which also owns a Zaxby’s in Lake City, Fla. and additional locations in Tallahassee, Fla.

Haisten said he can’t say Zaxby’s will definitely open in Alachua, but he did say he has shown interest in the property.

I’m very interested,” he said. “It would benefit me.”

He said he will submit plans to the City of Alachua by the end of November.

As of Oct. 31, the property remained under the ownership of Sally Franklin, who had a long-term lease agreement with the Huddle House.

Through her representatives, Franklin has been trying to sell the property for several years although the property had been leased.  The Huddle House, which closed its doors more than a decade ago, has unsuccessfully attempted to sublet the site on a number of occasions.  Franklin’s lease agreement with the Huddle House expired May 2010.

City of Alachua officials and others have considered the Huddle House property to be an eyesore for a variety of reasons.  Chief among those is the state of disrepair in which the site has been kept.  There was also vocal opposition to an adult novelty store, Adult World, which briefly opened in the building, but was shut down in 2004.

Neighboring hoteliers have decried the appearance of the property saying that it harmed their businesses as travelers often avoid their lodging establishments upon seeing the vacant site.  At the time, the property was reportedly being used as shelter by several homeless people and as a tractor-trailer parking area.

In 2008, the City of Alachua enforced several code violations against the property, urging that the owner take responsibility to clean up the site, keep the doors secured and grass mowed.  That prompted the owner to take some action, including blocking the parking lot entrances to prevent truck parking and loitering.

Franklin would not comment on Wednesday, Oct. 31 as to a possible sale of the property.

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Email astewart@alachuatoday.com

ALACHUA – What is considered to be an eyesore by many may soon be replaced with a Zaxby’s restaurant.  City of Alachua officials have confirmed that staff met with Brooks Haisten, a Zaxby’s franchisee, to discuss the property commonly referred to as the “Huddle House.” The site is the location of a former Huddle House restaurant and fronts U.S. Highway 441 at the Interstate 75 interchange in Alachua.  City staff reportedly recently met in a “preplanning” conference with Haisten.

Haisten owns Chicken Foot Development, Inc., a Florida Corporation, which also owns a Zaxby’s in Lake City, Fla. and additional locations in Tallahassee, Fla.

Haisten said he can’t say Zaxby’s will definitely open in Alachua, but he did say he has shown interest in the property.

I’m very interested,” he said. “It would benefit me.”

He said he will submit plans to the City of Alachua by the end of November.

As of Oct. 31, the property remained under the ownership of Sally Franklin, who had a long-term lease agreement with the Huddle House.

Through her representatives, Franklin has been trying to sell the property for several years although the property had been leased.  The Huddle House, which closed its doors more than a decade ago, has unsuccessfully attempted to sublet the site on a number of occasions.  Franklin’s lease agreement with the Huddle House expired May 2010.

City of Alachua officials and others have considered the Huddle House property to be an eyesore for a variety of reasons.  Chief among those is the state of disrepair in which the site has been kept.  There was also vocal opposition to an adult novelty store, Adult World, which briefly opened in the building, but was shut down in 2004.

Neighboring hoteliers have decried the appearance of the property saying that it harmed their businesses as travelers often avoid their lodging establishments upon seeing the vacant site.  At the time, the property was reportedly being used as shelter by several homeless people and as a tractor-trailer parking area.

In 2008, the City of Alachua enforced several code violations against the property, urging that the owner take responsibility to clean up the site, keep the doors secured and grass mowed.  That prompted the owner to take some action, including blocking the parking lot entrances to prevent truck parking and loitering.

Franklin would not comment on Wednesday, Oct. 31 as to a possible sale of the property.

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