Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Muscle Shoals Must Eat a Lotta Chicken

From yesterday's TimesDaily, the town of Muscle Shoals...

approved a resolution allowing the city to purchase the former Backyard Burgers building on East Avalon Avenue, renovate it and lease it for 20 years to Chandler-Wilson LLC. The company will open a Zaxby's restaurant and pay $2,000 a month for the first 10 years and $2,500 a month for the remaining 10 years of the lease. The city granted a 50 percent credit on sales taxes that will be applied to the lease payment. The city agreed to spend up to $800,000 in renovation costs and improvements for the property.

Rumors have abounded for months that Zaxby's would be moving into the former Backyard Burger location in Florence; but now Muscle Shoals has confirmed the speciality chicken chain will be occupying the vacant Backyard Burger building directly across from city hall. Great news, but everything has a cost.

Muscle Shoals has agreed to purchase the property (at an undisclosed price) and further to pay up to $800K in improvements on the building. We're sure that Zaxby's will bring its unique style of restaurant to the location, but the Backyard Burger building is less than six years old and was, after all, originally built as a fast food/take-out eatery. What will the city of Muscle Shoals receive in return? Rent for the next 20 years, assuming Zaxby's remains in Muscle Shoals, will total $540K--leaving a possible $260K deficit on the improvements alone.

The city will also take .25% of its .5% sales tax in lieu of actual rent. We have no idea how much Zaxby's would gross in one month, but based on a figure of $50K in gross sales, Muscle Shoals would take $125.00 off the amount of rent due. This incentive deal must make other city restaurants extremely happy. Will Ruby Tuesday now have Zaxby's envy?

The disposition of this .25% tax/lease payment should also be of great interest to Muscle Shoals City Schools. Will the funds remain in the sales tax account or be transferred to the account designated for rents?

Returning to the original purchase/lease agreement, if these figures are correct as reported, something is very much amiss. The average life of a McDonald's or Burger King building rarely extends past 20 years--it's called built in obsolescence. If we were residents of Muscle Shoals, we would be giving our councilperson a phone call.


Today marks the last day that Trader, Nurse Nan, and Amaryllis will officially be part of our blogging group. We wish them the best with the new Internet magazine The Connection.

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Collect James Joiner memorabilia? Here's a 45 produced in Florence c. 1965: Link


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