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Cracker Barrel, Zaxbys may be on tap for Richmond Hill
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The proposed ‘Interstate Commerce Center’, which is slated to be built next to the McDonald’s on Hwy. 17, is starting to take shape. According to discussion at the Sept. 16 Richmond Hill City Council meeting, it appears that Zaxby’s, Cracker Barrel and other businesses will soon arrive at the complex.

The property is owned by Gary Dodd, who owns all the Richmond Hill McDonald’s. Billy and Beth Muse with SouthEastern Construction Company, who appeared at the meeting as agents of Dodd, spoke to council about the project.

"Zaxby’s has committed and they will be starting construction in November with the plan of serving at the start of next year," Billy Muse said.

Beth Muse said, though Cracker Barrel has yet to officially sign a contract, "They said they would be down here in six months."

Muse said the highest grossing Cracker Barrel in the country is the one off 204 and the chain is anxious to open one at exit 87. The chain has already issued a letter of intent.

Muse said at least one other national restaurant chain is close to committing to the new complex. Although the name was not revealed, Applebee’s, Longhorn Steakhouse and Chili’s were discussed. "It’s one of those three," Muse said.

Planning and Zoning Director Steve Scholar told council that Chick-Fil-A has been discussed for the center. Muse said negotiations with Chick-Fil-A did not lead to a deal, and that chain will not be coming to the complex. Currently, the site is occupied by a dilapidated Sunoco gas station, which is in the process of being condemned.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council approved a plat approval that divides the proposed center into four tracts. One of those tracts will be a three-story mixed use building that will include both commercial and residential. Retail and office space is slated on the lower floors with residential on the top. The current plan is for the residential space to be temporary overnight quarters for guests of the complex’s residents, such as a lawyer that is considering leasing and visiting corporate McDonald’s employees when they are in town.

Muse said the bottom floor is already slated to include a "really nice wine shop" and several office spaces.

The first groundbreaking for Interstate Commerce Center is scheduled to be Zaxby’s in November, followed by the mixed use building in February. If they do sign, Cracker Barrel is expected to follow around April. The rest is tentative.

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