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Developer says U.S. 31 attractive for development

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — Thirsty and hungry ballplayers.

That's one reason developer Bill Ming said Jacks' Family Restaurant opted to locate on his new development on U.S. 31 at Pryor Street.

"It's close to Athens High School, and it's close to the Sportsplex," Ming said. "I know after a game I've heard my kids say, 'I'm hungry,' or, 'I'm thirsty.' "

Ming, owner of Ming Enterprises, is developing the 86-acre tract near the Sportsplex. The Sportsplex hosts baseball, softball and soccer games and has a swimming pool and walking track.

Jack's bought 1.2 acres for its 3,000-square-foot restaurant with a drive-through service. Jack's started in the 1960s and has a menu that includes hamburgers, crinkle-cut fries, hand-made shakes, fried chicken, blue-plate veggies and breakfast items.

Other possibilities for the acreage include a neighborhood shopping center, professional offices and other restaurants, Ming said.

Folks have become accustomed to commercial growth on the U.S. 72 exit of Interstate 65, but Ming said this property, at the U.S. 31 exit, is just as attractive. It has gone undeveloped, he said, because it did not have sewer.

The Beasley family had leased it only as farmland.

"Sewer is currently being bored under Highway 31 to be extended to this property," Ming said. "This will spur new commercial development along the (northern) 31 corridor and midtown Athens."

Ming said the location offers affordable lots with visibility, a four-lane highway and access to the interstate, but at about half the cost of U.S. 72 property.

Development isn't slack on U.S. 72, however.

Ming has announced that construction on Publix will start in October at his EastSide Junction development at U.S. 72 and Lindsay Lane.

Bank Independent expects to open there in May 2008.

Ming's development French Farms Pavilion on U.S. 72 across from Wal-Mart also is near completion.

It will house Zaxby's, Superior Banks, a young men and women's clothing chain called Maurices, a national shoe chain, Sally Beauty, GameStop, Pizza Hut Delivery, a hair salon, nail salon, mattress retailer, Chinese restaurant and a car rental business.

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