It looks like the new home for the Newk’s Eatery at Columbus Park Crossing will be space that was vacated abruptly in December by Atlanta Bread Co.
A public relations representative for Jackson, Miss.-based Newk’s — which serves up soups, sandwiches, salads and pizza — said Tuesday that the popular and growing restaurant chain is headed for 5555 Whittlesey Blvd. Other commercial development sources have confirmed that is where the eatery plans to serve up its fast-casual fare to hungry customers.
Newk’s aims to make its debut by November, which would get its doors open just in time for the holiday shopping season.
The Columbus Park address of 5555 Whittlesey is that of the former Atlanta Bread outlet, which closed its doors suddenly last December amid online reviews indicating its food quality, service and sanitary conditions were deteriorating. Smyrna, Ga.-based Atlanta Bread had been in the market about a decade, operated by a franchisee. In a statement at the time, the company thanked its loyal customers and pledged to re-enter the local market “at a later date.”
The site chosen by Newk’s is much larger than the 5295 Whittlesey Blvd. location that the company had listed on its website as “coming soon” to Columbus before taking it off the site in the last week or so. That 1,400-square-foot space was in a smaller strip center anchored by a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panda Express Chinese food outlet.
Mariah Klein, senior vice president of leasing with Genesis Real Estate Advisers, could not be reached Wednesday for comment on Columbus Park Crossing and the spaces available for rent long term. Her property listings show space available in the Chipotle-anchored center, but there is no listing for the vacant Atlanta Bread location.
The former Atlanta Bread property is situated between the Marble Slab Creamery and the Barnes & Noble bookstore, which generates solid traffic in that section of Columbus Park Crossing. A courtyard between the book seller and the vacant Atlanta Bread space typically is where Santa Claus sets up during the holidays to snap pictures with youngsters.
A major hole also remains to be filled for Columbus Park Crossing, with the former Sears department store building remaining dark more than three months after the retailer’s closure there, with no apparent signs of activity. The now-closed hhgregg appliance and electronics store also sits vacant after shutting its doors in late May.
Sears Holdings is closing its last Kmart store in the market as well, with the Airport Thruway location preparing to shut its doors. That follows Kmart closings earlier this year on Macon Road in Columbus and on U.S. Highway 280 in Columbus.