By Fred Hiers
Staff writer, Ocala Star Banner
The last vestige of a Shoney’s Restaurant in Marion County will be razed and replaced with a shopping center.
Delray Beach-based Lifetime Property I LP bought the site of the former Shoney’s on State Road 200 last month for $790,000, according to Marion County property records.
Employees with Front Street, a commercial real estate group out of Gainesville, said Lifetime is planning to tear down the restaurant beginning in January and that two tenants have signed on for the new 11,900-square-foot facility that will be built.
Construction of the new center is slated for completion in June, according to Nick Banks, managing director of Front Street.
Front Street is working for Lifetime to get businesses to rent space at the new site. Banks said Aspen Dental and Mattress Firm will be the two first tenants, which will leave 4,700 square feet of retail space for other businesses.
“I think it’s going to be a positive (change) for the area,” Banks said.
“It will be nice to see some new life (there),” he said, citing the number of businesses that have closed along the SR 200 corridor.
The first Shoney’s Restaurant in Marion County, located on Silver Springs Boulevard, called it quits in 1998 and was replaced a couple of years later with Ker’s WingHouse. That Shoney’s closed because it was no longer profitable, the company said at the time.
The Shoney’s on SR 200 closed about six years later and the store has remained vacant ever since.
The gutted restaurant sits on a 66,847-square-foot lot. A few years ago there were discussions of the store opening as a steak house, but that never materialized.
Banks said the attraction of the site is its location along busy SR 200 and its proximity to Interstate 75 and other businesses.
Lifetime partner David Hass declined to discuss the purchase or plans for the site, beyond the two businesses already set to move in.
Hass also is a partner in Brand Properties IV LLC of Palm Beach Gardens. That company recently completed an 11,000-square-foot facility on Newberry Road in Gainesville that it leases to Verizon.
Hass and partners also own the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Gainesville, including the BP station and Dunkin’ Donuts next to the Verizon store, under the corporate name Brand Eateries. The partnership also owns Gainesville Coffee LLC.