UNIVERSITY PARK -- Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers could open its first Sarasota County location in mid-February.
Franchise operator Cash Shelton of Lakewood Ranch said Wednesday he plans to apply for permits this week for demolition and construction at the former KFC, 6224 N. Lockwood Ridge Road, inside the Parkway Collection shopping center.
"We're just trying to get more of a local presence and get a little more name recognition," Shelton said. "I think a lot of people don't know who we are."
Shelton opened the first Florida Freddy's in April 2013 in the Creekwood Crossing shopping center off State Road 70 East, 7376 52nd Place E. If construction stays on schedule, a mid-February opening is possible for the University Park restaurant.
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"Business has been great," he said about his East Manatee location. "We're very happy to be in the area and expand further into Sarasota."
The Wichita, Kan.-based restaurant serves up thin cook-to-order steakburgers similar to Steak 'n Shake, as well as Vienna beef hot dogs and hand-dipped frozen custard.
Shelton acquired the property Monday from JRN Inc., for $1 million, according to Sarasota Clerk records. Shelton used an $800,000 mortgage from Intrust Bank to finance the sale, according to Sarasota Clerk records. Sarasota County government
approved remodel plans earlier this year for the restaurant.
Freddy's plans to add a 735-square-foot addition for outdoor seating to the 2,320-square-foot restaurant and add new landscaping, according to documents filed with Sarasota County. The chain often seeks out former KFC and Arby's restaurants to remodel to save on money as part of its growth strategy. The Bradenton Freddy's is a former Arby's.
Shelton is in the process of opening another Freddy's in Ocala and another franchise operator will open one in Orlando, he said. He is also close to signing a deal for another Sarasota location, he added.
The Parkway Collections Freddy's also signals more activity in the tired shopping center. Cupcake and specialty baker Sweet! In The City opened in the shopping center in September and, come December, Detwiler's Farm Market and Miller's Dutch Haus Furniture are expected to open in the former Sweetbay.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck