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Texas Roadhouse, Jim ’N Nick’s, Five Guys, Mattress Warehouse site prep underway
Developer says Boro’s second AutoZone will also go there
So far just the site preparation work is underway on the seven-acre site east of Harbor Freight on Northside Drive East, but when completed, possibly in the first quarter of 2024, buildings here will contain a Texas Roadhouse, a Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, a Five Guys, a Mattress Warehouse and potentially other businesses. - photo by JIM HEALY/staff

Earthmoving contractor Mill Creek Construction is preparing one pricey piece of land on U.S. Highway 80 East in Statesboro for three buildings planned to house a Texas Roadhouse restaurant, a not quite as large Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q restaurant and a smaller Five Guys burgers-and-fries place that will share a building with Mattress Warehouse.

The developer of those three buildings and others that are planned, Branchwater Statesboro LLC, purchased the roughly seven-acre tract in March from previous owner Bel Air Estates Inc. for $4,347,288, or more than $620,000 an acre.

Nick Propps, president of real estate agency Statesboro Properties, acknowledges that this was one of the most “high dollar” commercial transactions his firm has handled.

“It’s definitely one of the larger ones for Statesboro, and obviously it’s one that is of high interest to most people because of what is going to wind up going there,” Propps said this week. “We get more people asking us about it and we’ve heard so many rumors about what goes out there, so we’re glad that we can share what is actually happening.”

Statesboro Properties, which also handled the sale for the smaller Harbor Feight site more than five years ago, had the neighboring land on the market for several years, entertaining other offers and ideas. But in commercial real estate some of the interest is speculative and the first potential deals often do not work out, he said.

 “And that’s kind of the case out there,” Propps said. “Several people were looking at it and we had worked on a number of things over the years, but this one was the one that the timing was right and we got it to stick, and obviously with the growth of Statesboro, that’s part of what is encouraging the development right now.”

The frontage along U.S. Highway 80, in the area where it transitions from being Statesboro’s Northside Drive East, extends from Harbor Freight eastward to Peg-Wen Boulevard. The site is across from Lowe’s Home Improvement and Ole Times Country Buffet.

Propps said his agency has “something else pending” in the general area that he could not reveal details of yet.


City permits

Statesboro city staffers have issued land-disturbance permits for the stand-alone 7,900-square-foot Texas Roadhouse steakhouse and 6,100-square-foot Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q buildings. The review had been completed for issuing the permit of this type for a 7,200-square-foot building that will house both the Five Guys and the Mattress Warehouse, awaiting arrival of a check for the permit fee, city Planning and Housing Administrator Justin Williams said July 27.

Land disturbance is a stage of permitting prior to issuance of final building permits. But preliminary information provided to the city showed that the Texas Roadhouse should hold about 290 dining-area seats and the Jim ’N Nick’s 179 seats, not counting seats in the waiting area.

“Hopefully people are that hungry around Statesboro,” Williams said.


NC-based developer

Greg Edney, developer and owner of Branchwater Statesboro LLC, which is actually based in Mills River, North Carolina, near Asheville, confirmed the projected seating capacities in a phone interview Friday.

Texas Roadhouse doesn’t open for lunch except on the weekends, “and so they do such a high volume from 5 to 11 (p.m.) they’ve got to have a lot of parking spaces and they’ve got to have a big restaurant to be able to serve everybody,” he said.

He also explained that the three buildings are not all that is planned for the seven-acre tract.

“We got approved this morning for Statesboro’s second AutoZone to go beside the multi-tenant building (meaning the Five Guys-Mattress Warehouse building),” Edney said.

That’s not city site approval, but approval from AutoZone in the form a lease on the building.

He also mentioned a fifth building to potentially receive a sushi restaurant and a computing-related business, but couldn’t name these because he doesn’t have leases yet.

Total investment on the seven acres, including the land purchase, clearing and grading, utilities, engineering and construction, could be as much as $15 million, Edney answered.


Plan revisited

He had wanted to build a Texas Roadhouse in Statesboro about four years ago “but the timing wasn’t right,” he said.

“So when they called me back and said, ‘Let’s go back and relook at Statesboro,’ I came back to the site that I’d already looked at, but then there was a lot more interest for a lot more other tenants to go there,” Edney said. “So it grew from a two-acre site just for Texas Roadhouse to where I bought the whole seven acres.”

Texas Roadhouse, Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q and Five Guys are all chains that currently have restaurants in Pooler. But Edney was not involved in any of those developments, and as he notes, Pooler is more than 45 minutes away.

“Statesboro is really on the map with the stuff that’s going on there, and with Georgia Southern University and just a lot of favorable factors I think they’re starting to see a lot of growth,” he said.

The Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q restaurant is currently slated to be completed in December, and Edney said he thinks the other businesses should open some time in the first quarter of 2024.

The site’s previous owner, Bel-Air Estates Inc., is a privately held Georgia corporation, long-established as the developer of the nearby residential subdivision that bears its name. Its CEO is H. Lehman Frankin III, now state representative from District 160, and its CFO is David Bobo.

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