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Demolition crews are onsite at the former Huddle House property on U.S. Highway 441 in Alachua. The buildings will be completely demolished, making way for a Zaxby’s restaurant.

ALACHUA – What many passersby have called an “eyesore” for many years is finally being demolished as crews began on Monday tearing down the former Huddle House Restaurant on U.S. Highway 441 in Alachua. Replacing the dilapidated structures currently on the property will be a Zaxby’s restaurant.

Along with the Huddle House restaurant, a smaller building, formerly Dairy Queen, is also being demolished.

“We’re taking out the buildings, the pavement, the slabs, everything,” said Darrell Hooks of Georgia-based Pacesetter Construction. “We’re hoping to have the entire site cleaned off by Saturday.”

After the site has been leveled, crews are expected to begin the construction phase. “We have 101 days from [May 20] to have this project complete,” said Hooks, who remained optimistic they would finish earlier. He described the Alachua location as being built to one of Zaxby’s newest formats although details were not provided.

Chasing Chicken 2, Inc. is the franchisee developing the Zaxby’s restaurant located here. The owner of that company owns others in Lake City and Tallahassee.

The project was approved by the Alachua Planning and Zoning Board Feb. 12, 2013.

The request for consideration of a site plan filed in November 2012 showed the restaurant at approximately 3,800 square-feet with a drive-through and associated drainage, paving, grading and infrastructure improvements.

Located at 16062 NW U.S. Highway 441 at the junction of I-75, the buildings have been vacant for nearly all of the last decade. The site has been regarded as an eyesore by some residents and Alachua officials. It garnered even more attention when one company briefly opened an adult novelty store at the location. It was promptly shut down by the City of Alachua after having been opened for just a few hours.

The property was owned by Sally Franklin, of Alachua Enterprises, Inc., but the Huddle House held a long-term lease on it, even after it ceased operations there.

Construction could be complete by late August.

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