The former Carey Hilliard's restaurant building in the Statesboro Crossing shopping center sold last week after being vacant and on the market for six years.
Nick Propps of Statesboro Properties was the listing agent who represented the Hilliard family of Savannah, who owned the property. Sam DiPolito of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kennedy Realty represented Asia World Company, which purchased the building for $1.12 million.
Asia World Company is a Statesboro-based company with a large portfolio of multifamily developments and commercial property, including restaurant real estate. It is owned by Charles Tsang of Statesboro, who also owns the Boiling Shrimp restaurant in Statesboro and leases property to Chow Time Buffet and Ruby Tuesday restaurants.
With an original investment of more than $2 million by the Hilliards, the fully equipped, 9,500-square-foot restaurant sits on 1.2 acres of some of the most prime real estate in Statesboro.
The Hilliard family originally listed the property for $2.9 million after it closed in 2011. Asia World Company purchased the building speculatively and is actively looking for a tenant, Tsang said.
Carey Hilliard's opened its Statesboro location in August 2009 and closed the restaurant only two years later, on Memorial Day in 2011.
T.J. Hilliard, the grandson of founder Carey Hilliard, graduated from Georgia Southern University with a business degree and convinced his father, company president Tim Hilliard, to open the Statesboro location.
Even though the Statesboro location reported $2.9 million in sales, T.J. Hilliard cited increased competition, a recovering economy and a new store concept that no longer matched the long-range strategic plans of the company as reasons at the time for the closing.
Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden and Steak 'n Shake opened new restaurants in the shopping center after Carey Hillard's opened, and they all appear to be thriving.
The Statesboro restaurant had the same menu as the other Carey Hilliard's restaurants, including a barbecue pork plate with "secret recipe" Brunswick stew and the chain's best-selling menu item: fried shrimp platters.
The "new" concept Statesboro restaurant, however, saw a deviation from the popular booth seating in traditional Carey Hilliard's restaurants and featured a full bar.
Carey Hilliard's began in 1960 on Skidaway Road in Savannah. It is named for the chain's founder, who was killed in a plane crash in 1982. They currently operate six restaurants in the Savannah area.