Apalachicola’s Burger King, just past the western edge of town on U.S. 98, is slated to reopen in June, nearly four years after Hurricane Michael knocked it out of commission.
“Since then we’ve worked with Burger King franchisees to reopen all their locations hit by Hurricane Michael,” said James Bennett, one of the principals of PDI of Florida, LLC, which owns the 1.2 acres at 421 U.S. 98 where the fast food restaurant sits.
“This is one of the last we’re working on,” he said. “We’re excited about being one of the few options for fast food in the county.”
A filing with the county building department indicates PDI will spend a little more than $157,000 on the remodeling, which is being done by Denny Sanders Construction, out of Lynn Haven, based on a design drawn up by Fusion Architects, out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The footprint of the building itself will shrink from 5,061 to 4,127 square feet, in large part due to the permanent removal of the playground area that used to front U.S. 98.
“I put it on 15 years ago, I have a history with that building,” said Denny Sanders. “Burger King got out of playgrounds several years ago. It will look like one of the newer Burger Kings when it’s completed.
“Basically it’s going to be a brand new restaurant when it’s done. They’re sparing no costs,” he said. “They want it done right.”
That newer look, both inside and outside, is in keeping with Burger King’s newest Garden Grill prototype, which includes squaring off the roof line, adding new parapets and new interior and exterior imaging, Bennett said.
It appears likely that the drive-through will move more smoothly and quicker than it used to, since the developers have torn out the old equipment, and will replace it with a new, double drive-through.
Stormwater will be better handled with an upgraded stormwater retention pond on the east side of the property. Ingress and egress from the property will continue as it had, and they’re be 32 parking spaces, two of them dedicated for the handcapped, on the nearly 30,000 square feet of asphalt that surrounds the building.
They’ll be ramp access for wheelchairs on both the east and west sides of the building. In all the total impervious surface will be about 35,600 square feet, roughly two-thirds of the total land acres.
Bennett said that as the June opening date nears, Consolidated Burger Holdings LLC. a large franchisee that owns and operates the majority of Burger Kings in the Panhandle, will have an air-conditioned trailer on site where they will take job applications.