Make way for burgers


Published: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Construction on new Whataburger site to begin soon
A second Whataburger restaurant is coming to Gainesville, replacing a defunct bank building at 3541 W. University Ave.
The former First Union/Wachovia bank was demolished last week, and construction of the chain restaurant should begin in the next few days, according to Jan Bishop, Whataburger's director of operations for North Florida. She also handles operations of the other Whataburger in Gainesville, 7300 Newberry Road, and two in Ocala.
Visible work Wednesday was city of Gainesville work crews digging up a 20-foot Canary Island date palm that had been growing on the site for decades. It did not fit into the landscape plan, and was transplanted into the center of the newly opened traffic circle on Glen Springs Road.
Bishop said the new restaurant will have the same menu, including breakfast, the same drive-through and the same hours of operation - 24 hours a day, seven days a week - but its building design will be a toned-down version of its other flashier ones in order to fit into the surrounding architecture of professional offices.
Instead of an orange-and-white striped gable rooftop, it will have a flat roof, and the building will be white and gray.
Bishop said Whataburger has been actively seeking sites in the area for quite some time and she is "real excited about this one." The Houston-based corporation plans on building up to three more restaurants in this area, possibly also in Alachua, Bishop said.
The construction will add even more congestion to the SW 2nd Avenue area bridge project, but when it opens, Whataburger will be accessible from both SW 2nd and W. University avenues.
Bishop said she plans initially to hire up to 80 people.
She also hopes for the same success the Newberry Road restaurant experienced when it opened in August 2004, when it brought in $200,000 in the first month.
Whataburger, which began operations in Texas in 1953, has more than 600 restaurants around the South.
This Whataburger is not connected with the What-A-Burger restaurant that once operated on NW 13th Street, where El Indio is currently located.
Marina Blomberg can be reached at (352) 374-5025 or business@gvillesun.com.

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