By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
A local developer is working to fill a large vacancy in a new south side development, after the anchor restaurant tenant pulled out of the deal.
Officials with Drinkard Development confirmed to The Times that Shane’s Rib Shack, a national barbecue franchise with more than 70 locations nationwide, will not be a part of the new Willkommen Center just off Olive Street.
The new, 11,000-square-foot development is located near the Marktplatz shopping district, across the street from Cici’s Pizza, Casa Fiesta and China Garden. A Palm Beach Tan and Great Clips haircut salon are already open in the Willkommen complex.
“Those are both doing really well and are great offerings for the area,” Jason Grimmett, with Drinkard Development, said. “We’re disappointed it’s heading that way, but you always try to have a plan B in place, and we do. We’re actively working now to try and fill that space.”
Grimmett said his office is in negotiations with another restaurant and hopes to have a deal finalized soon. With negotiations ongoing, the name of the potential restaurant has not been released.
Considering the space is already built and designed for restaurant use, Drinkard said his team is focusing mostly on potential restaurant tenants.
“We do have someone tentatively waiting on us here in the wings,” he said. “It’s laid out for a restaurant and we want to keep it in that mindset. I’m confident we’ll be able to work something out.”
The Cullman Economic Development Agency is also working with Drinkard Development to help find a suitable tenant.
“We’re here to do anything and everything we can,” Cullman Economic Development retail recruiter Susie Hood Ashley said.
Once the WalMart Supercenter opened several years ago, the south side area around Olive Street has seen tremendous growth. Numerous restaurants and retail shops have opened there in recent years, with an ALDI grocery store and Jim N’ Nicks Barbecue currently in the works.
Though the Willkommen space is still vacant, Grimmett said the company has found an occupant for the empty space beside Save A Lot in the nearby King Edward Plaza shopping center. A Farmer’s Furniture store will open in April beside the grocery chain.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.