In the Know: What happened to the KFC in Naples?

TIM ATEN
The building's signs and familiar red-and-white-striped pyramid topper are gone. This is the last trace of Colonel Sanders at the former KFC location, which closed July 1 on the corner of U.S. 41 North and Michigan Avenue in Naples. A BankUnited branch is planning to open there in early 2013.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

The building's signs and familiar red-and-white-striped pyramid topper are gone. This is the last trace of Colonel Sanders at the former KFC location, which closed July 1 on the corner of U.S. 41 North and Michigan Avenue in Naples. A BankUnited branch is planning to open there in early 2013.

Q: What happened to KFC on the North Trail? Passed it the other day and all the signs were taken down. Are they re­opening somewhere else? They just can’t make it in Naples; the original was on 41 and 26th Avenue North, then there were two in East Naples, and then they were at the re­cently closed location. What is going on with the company and Naples?

— Ken French, Naples

A: After leasing the Park Shore area property for 20 years in what eventu­ally became a sweetheart deal, inflation finally caught up with K-Corp. Lee Inc., the Lee-Collier counties franchise of KFC.

Although K-Corp. knew for years that its lease would be up July 1 for the building at 3906 Ninth St. N., the regional franchi­see for the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain did not se­cure a new space. It hit the pause button and shuttered its only true Naples loca­tion.

KFC employees at the former Naples location knew about the expiring lease, K-Corp. said, and were offered jobs at other KFC locations, the nearest being in Golden Gate and Bonita Springs.

“We offered them all transfers. Some decided not to take it,” said Moni­ca Montgomery, a spokes­woman for K-Corp. Lee Inc., operated by James P. Abernathy for more than 20 years.

Still, Montgomery in­sists the Fort Myers-based K-Corp. plans to open an­other Naples location of the popular fast-food res­taurant.

“We will return to the market at a later date,” she said. “We will. We will. It’s just timing.”

However, the company doesn’t have a timeline for opening another restaurant to replace the old Naples location, which Mont­gomery said was a strong store as far as performance is concerned.

“We haven’t started the process,” she said.

In the meantime, K-Corp. is focusing on its other finger-lickin’ franchise, Famous Dave’s. Another regional location for the barbecue chain is scheduled to open this summer in the former spot of Vapiano, which closed at the end of January in Gulf Coast Town Center in San Carlos Park.

The company plans future locations of Famous Dave’s in Naples, Montgomery said.

Photo with no caption

Nary a trace of Colonel Sanders exists at the old property at U.S. 41 North and Michigan Avenue. Construction on that site will begin in the fourth quarter for an early 2013 opening of a BankUnited branch, said Mary Harris, a spokeswoman for BankUnited. The bank will use the footprint and some of the walls of the existing building for the new branch, Harris said.

KFC enjoyed a "very, very good deal" at its last location, said David Stevens, a principal with Naples-based Investment Properties Corporation, which is representing the property owner.

“It was just an old rent, an old deal,” Stevens said. If a lease had been renegotiated with KFC, the restaurant operator would be paying more than double the rent they had been paying because of substantial changes in the market value in the decades since the original lease was signed, he said.

The former KFC drive-thru property was purchased in 2007 for $2.25 million by Arco Finance Inc., 4099 Ninth St. N., Naples, according to records on collierappraiser.com.

The longtime Perkins Restaurant & Bakery in Park Shore Plaza, 4255 U.S. 41 N., permanently closed Feb. 5 after operating since 1984.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

The longtime Perkins Restaurant & Bakery in Park Shore Plaza, 4255 U.S. 41 N., permanently closed Feb. 5 after operating since 1984.

Meanwhile, Stevens and IPC are reporting “good activity” for a new tenant for the vacated space of the former Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery in the nearby Park Shore Plaza.

After operating there for more than 25 years, Perkins closed in early February.

“We expect to execute an agreement within the next week or two,” Stevens said.

The 4,325-square-foot vacated building on a quarter-acre out-parcel along U.S. 41 is being marketed for lease to a new tenant or for redevelopment. Stevens is representing the property owners, Tenth Street Partners LLC.

Alpine Restaurant, right, opened July 10, 2012, next to Toast in the former location of Bajio Mexican Grill in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #158, North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Alpine Restaurant, right, opened July 10, 2012, next to Toast in the former location of Bajio Mexican Grill in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #158, North Naples.

MORE LOCAL RESTAURANT NEWS

Alpine Restaurant opened Monday in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road, North Naples. Alpine owners Alex and Eva Stranavsky have added ciabatta sandwiches to the menu of German, Czech, Polish, Slovakian and Hungarian food they formerly served at Europia Bistro in Pebblebrooke Center until they closed at the end of April to relocate.

Beer and coffee, including cappuccinos and lattes, also are served with the Stranavsky’s wiener schnitzel, paprikash, goulash, pirogi, strudel and crepes.

CLICK HERE for Alpine's menu.

Alpine is opening in a larger location than the former bistro. The 2,225-square-foot space formerly was the home of Bajio Mexican Grill until vacated earlier this year.

Although small signs are on the new restaurant’s door and in the windows, the large outdoor sign is not up yet. Alpine serves lunch and dinner every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 239-777-3359

Maguro Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi opened July 10 in the Gateway Shoppes at North Bay on the corner of Wiggins Pass Road and U.S. 41 North in North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Maguro Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi opened July 10 in the Gateway Shoppes at North Bay on the corner of Wiggins Pass Road and U.S. 41 North in North Naples.

Maguro Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi opened Tuesday morning in the Gateway Shoppes at North Bay shopping center on the northwest corner of Wiggins Pass Road and U.S. 41 North. Maguro is in a new unit in an outparcel building connected to Scottrade. Owner Vicky Zhang said the nearly 5,000-square-foot restaurant will seat 150 and feature 10 hibachi tables, where diners get a front-row seat as chefs prepare meals on tableside grills. Maguro is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 239-591-0003

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt recently opened area locations in the Village on Venetian Bay in Naples, and in Miromar Outlets in Estero.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt recently opened area locations in the Village on Venetian Bay in Naples, and in Miromar Outlets in Estero.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt recently opened two area locations. The first opened in early May in Miromar Outlets, 10801 Corkscrew Road, Estero, followed by another in early June in the Village on Venetian Bay, 4200 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples. Orange Leaf features a do-it-yourself toppings bar where patrons can add fresh fruits, nuts, brownie bites, candy and chocolate syrup to their dessert creations. The Naples location, 239-435-4533, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. The Estero shop, 239-949-7960, is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

SweetFrog self-serve frozen yogurt cafe operated its first Naples-area store from June 15, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2013, next to Sunburst Cafe in Pine Ridge Crossing on the corner of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

SweetFrog self-serve frozen yogurt cafe operated its first Naples-area store from June 15, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2013, next to Sunburst Cafe in Pine Ridge Crossing on the corner of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads.

SweetFrog, a self-serve frozen yogurt café chain based in Richmond, Va., opened its first Naples-area store June 15 in Pine Ridge Crossing at Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads. SweetFrog opened next to Sunburst Café in the space formerly occupied by Smoothie King and Love Me, Love My Dog Pet Salon and Spa. The new frozen yogurt café is open noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 239-919-8151

___

Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 24

Jarvis (Inactive) writes:

That KFC had awful service, and it looked like it had not been renovated since the 1950s.

srsone writes:

what happened to Shy Wolf sanctuary?
saw something on WINK about zoning?

Notthesame writes:

the kfc story again, really no new news to report? Shy wolf still stinking up the neighborhood and howling at the moon disturbing the peace.

nightranger writes:

They are closing every place in this town that even offers an affordable alternative to high price dining. Where is the working class suppose to eat.All have closed recently- Perkins, KFC, Auriello's,Pizza Hut, Rick's, Dairy Queen, McDonalds's, etc.. Keep building more Mercato's with $15.00 lunch items.. I guess I will be using that buy one get one free from the Village Pub.

TSOL writes:

in response to nightranger:

They are closing every place in this town that even offers an affordable alternative to high price dining. Where is the working class suppose to eat.All have closed recently- Perkins, KFC, Auriello's,Pizza Hut, Rick's, Dairy Queen, McDonalds's, etc.. Keep building more Mercato's with $15.00 lunch items.. I guess I will be using that buy one get one free from the Village Pub.

Who's closing them down. The truth is that these places can't make it in the current economy I suspect there will be more following in the near future.

quitcomplaining writes:

I wish they would combine a KFC with an A&W restaurant as they have done in other cities.

suzaunt writes:

With the economy so bad, why are banks opening a new branch on every corner? Every time I see new construction, it's another bank branch?

dolph66 writes:

in response to Jarvis:

That KFC had awful service, and it looked like it had not been renovated since the 1950s.

That building wasn't there in the 50s. The original building was a eatery named "The port Hole" The building then turned into "The Open Hearth" The building was then razed and KFC was built. Behind it was a building called the "Floridian" It turned into the "Bindle Stiff" I liked that one because just when I thought my life sucked I could go there and see people alot worse off then me. Really a pick me up.

staghorn writes:

The picture of KFC at the top of the article illustrates Naples perfectly ........ DEAD.

swfl_ff writes:

in response to dolph66:

That building wasn't there in the 50s. The original building was a eatery named "The port Hole" The building then turned into "The Open Hearth" The building was then razed and KFC was built. Behind it was a building called the "Floridian" It turned into the "Bindle Stiff" I liked that one because just when I thought my life sucked I could go there and see people alot worse off then me. Really a pick me up.

Actually when this building was first built back in the 80's it was a Hardee's for several years before becoming a KFC later on.

That was a sad day in Naples when they tore the old Hearth down.

romneygate writes:

We still have Mel's and they serve grits too.

HOMEBOY2 writes:

in response to thepartyofknow:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Popeye's and W.C. Where do I get in line at... HOW ABOUT A CHEDDARS Rest. talk about a good Burger.. I heard Cheddars was coming to Gulf Coast Town Center.. Does anyone know about what else is being built at GCTC?

wolfgang1 writes:

Sweet F.R.O.G- Means "Fully Rely on God"...not kidding, got it right from their web site. They should have opened it out in Oyvey Maria, or next to the Gyno Burger.
They will need more than a few Hail Mary's to make it in this town. I hope their creator created them with deep pockets!

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

Just unbelieveable!

It is an obama landscape, eh?

HAP writes:

Mel's is disgusting. Poor people eat poorly,
and believe me, it burden's us all in the long run. Perhaps with the new president, we will all be eating healthy again, since, the world will get its act together again.

rasputin writes:

Where will Fred Coyle go?

HadYourPhil writes:

Popeye's please. Much better than KFC. And, while you're at it, how about a Krystal?

It seems that franchise rights for those two are held by people with no intention of building them.

Notthesame writes:

in response to HOMEBOY2:

Popeye's and W.C. Where do I get in line at... HOW ABOUT A CHEDDARS Rest. talk about a good Burger.. I heard Cheddars was coming to Gulf Coast Town Center.. Does anyone know about what else is being built at GCTC?

bojangles and krystal(southern white castle) thats the ticket.

HOMEBOY2 writes:

in response to Notthesame:

bojangles and krystal(southern white castle) thats the ticket.

Sounds good to me.. Popeyes would be my first choice... but Bojangles would work.. and Krystal's will work.. eventhough I am from Columbus, Ohio (THE HOME OF THE SLIDER) White Castle.

Sanity writes:

in response to thepartyofknow:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Insanely overpriced. A bucket of chicken can cost you almost 30 bucks when you can go to publix and get a rotisserie chick for 6 and get two if you very hungry and still make out just fine.

I haven't been to an KFC for years because they honestly charge way too much.

Sanity writes:

in response to HOMEBOY2:

Sounds good to me.. Popeyes would be my first choice... but Bojangles would work.. and Krystal's will work.. eventhough I am from Columbus, Ohio (THE HOME OF THE SLIDER) White Castle.

I loved WC as a kid. If they opened one here in Naples the line would wrap around the store for miles.

RENO55 writes:

AHH the bindle stiff. The smell of pot,peanut shells on the floor and streaking naked women. Oh the memories.

aldogg98 writes:

in response to Jarvis:

That KFC had awful service, and it looked like it had not been renovated since the 1950s.

yes that place did have terrible service and management didnt care at all about the store or the employees

naplespatriots writes:

in response to HAP:

Mel's is disgusting. Poor people eat poorly,
and believe me, it burden's us all in the long run. Perhaps with the new president, we will all be eating healthy again, since, the world will get its act together again.

Agree. If they would eat better, they would not get sick with heart disease and cancer. Then, they would not need Obamacare, and the new president could repeal that rotten legislation in good conscience.

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