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Updated: 01/27/2013 08:00:16AM

CRA helps waffle house

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Tony Sullivan is in the midst of cleaning up this building and area to open a Waffle House on this site. It is on the corner of U.S. 17 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard across the street from the Family Dollar that open late last year.


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Tony Sullivan is going to get some help from the Community Redevelopment Agency in starting a waffle house on the corner of U.S. 17 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

That help is coming in a $4,000 grant to help rehabilitate the facade, roof and for landscaping, a $6,000 forgivable loan and at the opening $500 for marketing.

The opening is scheduled to happen in October.

That money the board allowed to Sullivan is coming despite a moratorium the board passed in February 2012 to help businesses because the CRA could not afford it with shrinking revenues. That drew some discussion from board members Wednesday as to whether they were violating what that policy.

However, the board voted to help Sullivan because they felt it is a project that needs the help and this restaurant can help the area, too.

Board attorney Sean Parker told board members if they OK this item as a single agenda item it would not violate the policy that is in place.

“I’m wondering if we’re setting a precedent and open ourselves up for future events we can’t afford,” Board member John Bohde said.

“That is up to you,” Parker said to the board. “Before you is a recommended project, a pure request. The question of precedent is for the board to decide.”

Interim Executive Director Andy Laurent said the staff recommends the help and added, “It’s our job to getting dollars out there to encourage businesses.”

He said he feels assured that with this business venture, Sullivan has solid long-term plans for this business and will likely be in business for a long time.

“This is an area we would like to do something with businesses and I don’t see another alternative,” he said. “They have a real willingness to make this work.”

The Sullivans have invested $75,000 in the property and own it free and clear and he assured the board it would be a good investment.

“We invested a lot of money time and effort and it’s a nice location,” he said. It’s not a big business, he said, but it will be good for the community and will provide revenues back to the city.

After the meeting, Sullivan said the restaurant will focus mostly on the breakfast. But he is also building an area outside with a barbecue. He envisions with the Family Dollar across the street from it and with its location on U.S. 17, it is bound to get noticed and get a good number of customers. He said the restaurant is not part of the franchise by that name.

Feeling as if they are not violating the moratorium and doing something on the east side of town which should be done, the board voted 6-0 to grant the money, give them the forgivable loan and marketing money.