If you have a hankering for a Whopper, you’re going to have to wait until next year, at the earliest, before you can get one in Apalachicola.
Tom Donnelly, director of development for Consolidated Burger Holdings, LLC, in Destin, said talks with the franchisee’s insurer remain ongoing.
“We are still dealing with the insurance company trying to reach a settlement from damages we incurred there from Hurricane Michael,” Donnelly said.
“We’re just kind of in limbo as a franchises, we can’t move ahead,” he said. “The Apalachicola market has always been an important market for us; we have very loyal customers there. As soon as we can do that, and open, we’ll be very happy. We want to get our properties reopened as soon as possible.”
He said it would be unlikely the Burger King, at 421 U.S. 98, in front of the Gulfside IGA, is opened before sometime next year at the earliest.
One key issue that the franchisee is dealing with are county flood requirements that stipulate that if an owner invests more than 50 percent of a building’s value in repair costs over the course of 10 years, it is no longer grandfathered under previous flood zone requirements, Instead it must make sure the property meets the current requirements, which mean it might have to raze the entire building and rebuild, or invest in costly flood-proofing measures.
Amy Kelly, with the county planning and zoning department, said that preliminary estimates indicate that replacement costs, of $100 per square foot, could run about $487,000, well in excess of the building’s value, of about $332,000.
“Repairs are going to cost more than 50 percent of the value of the building,” said Donnelly. “It will probably have to be brought to current FEMA standards at the site. That’s the decision our insurance company has to concur with.
“One remedy would be basically flood-proof the building. We would evaluate the cost of that versus a ‘scrape and rebuild,’ he said.
Consolidated Burger Holdings will make its one year anniversary this month since entering the local market, when they acquired 66 locations.
Of these, 14 properties were damaged, five of them severely, including Apalachicola, where they lease the property.
Port St. Joe was a total loss, and had to be razed due to safety issues, since the building was not structurally sound, Donnelly said.
The 15th Street location in Panama City was a total loss, as were locations in Lynn Haven and Springfield.