The Wilson Times

Sunday, January 05, 2014 10:08 PM

Zaxby's restaurant planned in Wilson

By Rochelle Moore | Times Staff Writer

After years of eyeing the Wilson market, a franchise owner has decided to open a Zaxby’s restaurant along one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares.

A new Zaxby’s restaurant is planned for construction along Raleigh Road Parkway in the Heritage Towne Centre next to Auto Zone, said Ron Sutton with Herring Sutton and Associates.

The Georgia-based Southern Land’s Resource Development Group has submitted a site plan with the city of Wilson’s planning department. The plan is expected to receive its final review Monday. Sutton anticipates that the plan will be approved and lead the franchise owner to be able to purchase the property at 3019 Raleigh Road Parkway.

"There has been a site plan submitted for a Zaxby’s between Auto Zone and Kurtz Chiropractic,” Sutton said. "The guy who had the franchise for this area decided on the site. After we get site approval, they’ll have to close on the property.”

The owner is proposing a 4,139 square-foot restaurant on a 1.69 acre lot, said Janet Holland, assistant director of Wilson Planning and Development Services. An initial site plan was submitted on Dec. 3 and a revision was submitted Dec. 27. The franchise owner is waiting for the final review and approval before moving forward with the land purchase and subsequent construction.

The restaurant is planned to locate in one of the city’s newest areas of development next to the Heritage Crossing shopping center. Heritage Towne Centre is a 17.45-acre area with 16 lots planned for development. Two businesses, Auto Zone and Golden Corral, have already opened in the center.

Heritage Towne Centre is being marketed for development by the same developers of the Heritage Crossing shopping center. Sutton is the site engineer for the developer of Zaxby’s and also works for the developers of the Heritage Towne Centre.

The decision to open a Zaxby’s restaurant didn’t happen overnight as restaurant representatives have considered Wilson for at least seven years. Ed Etheridge, one of the developers for Heritage Crossing, confirmed in 2009 that attempts were being made to lure restaurants, including Zaxby’s, and other businesses into the shopping center. At the time, the recession made it difficult to secure any commitment.

Sutton said that an improved economy may have contributed to the recent decision for Zaxby’s to settle in Wilson.

The first attempt to open a Zaxby’s restaurant along Raleigh Road Parkway was made in 2007 but the Wilson City Council shot down a rezoning request for a property next to the Belle Meade subdivision. The location concerned residents who filled the council’s chambers asking that the rezoning be denied. The rezoning was needed for the chicken restaurant to locate next to the subdivision near Wolf Trap Drive.

At the time, more than one council member thought another property would be more suitable for Zaxby’s.

Seven years later, Zaxby’s is planned to locate across Raleigh Road Parkway in an area that is further from the subdivision. The restaurant is still popular for many people who have wanted a Zaxby’s for years.

"From what I hear on the street, that’s one of the restaurants people would like to see,” Sutton said. "There’s been a lot of interest in Zaxby’s for three or four years.” | 265-7818

©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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