UNIVERSITY PARK -- Kansas-based Freddy's Frozen Custard is seeking approval to build its first Sarasota County restaurant.
Franchise owner Cash Shelton of Lakewood Ranch has filed his pre-application with Sarasota County government to remodel a former KFC at 6224 N. Lockwood Ridge Road for a new custard and steakburger shop inside the Parkway Collection shopping center.
Shelton opened the first Freddy's in Florida by remodeling a former East Manatee Arby's at 7376 52nd Place E., in the Creekwood Crossing shopping center off State Road 70 East, in May.
"Everything has been great," Shelton said about the existing Freddy's. His franchise expansion is a little behind schedule as available land and good prices are hard to come by in the area, Shelton said.
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Competitor Culver's Frozen Custard, the largest custard chain in the nation, and ButterBurgers are opening this spring less than a mile west at the new Town Center at University Groves, making a key play for the fast food corridor. Freddy's has designed new stores in other parts of the country, but affordable vacant parcels in the region are leading the company to go with its remodel program of old Arby's and KFC restaurants.
Shelton cautioned that while he is applying for approval, there are several obstacles ahead of him before he can proceed. He hasn't purchased the former KFC building yet and is still
negotiating with the shopping center as well.
The Sarasota County Development Review Committee will review the application at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Sarasota County Planning & Building Development Services Building, 1001 Sarasota Center Blvd., Conference Room No. 2.
The DRC meetings are open to the public, but no input is taken during these meetings, said Mary Stephens with Planning & Development Services, which essentially review possible "deal killers" with applicants before they file a formal site plan and application. The project would be administratively approved unless requesting a variance, Stephens said.
"We're basically letting them know some general things that could be obstacles, cost prohibitive or give general information," she said.
The biggest challenge will be having adequate parking for the proposed 2,320-square-foot restaurant with a drive-thru, Shelton said. Forty-six spaces are required, and the application shows four spaces are being reduced from the existing 30 parking spaces. Shelton is trying to find a way to gain permission to have spaces from the shopping center count to meet requirements.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.