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Owner says restaurant will replace Gainesville's infamous pink Pepper's Market
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Pepper's Market in Gainesville is torn down Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Owner Rick Gailey says a restaurant will replace the iconic pink building. - photo by Nate McCullough

Pepper's Market is no more.

The infamous pink and green building on EE Butler Parkway in Gainesville, a once-beloved community store to some, a longtime eyesore to others, was torn down Friday, Nov. 20.

Owner Rick Gailey said a restaurant will go in its place. Gailey said he did not "want to divulge any names yet," but it was not a chain restaurant and would serve made-to-order burgers and wings along with craft beer and offer outdoor seating.

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The property has long been the subject of dispute between the city and Gailey. Gailey painted the store pink in 2007 amid an argument with officials over code enforcement. More recently the city had threatened to use eminent domain to take over the property next to Walton Summit, the housing development that replaced Green Hunter Homes on Atlanta Street in 2018.

The Gainesville City Council vote on using eminent domain had been tabled repeatedly this year. Gailey said work had been going on to reach an agreement on the property that would satisfy both he and the city.

"We've been working on a lot of stuff with the city behind the scenes, and they're very excited about it, and I am, too, so we've just got to proceed on and get rolling."

Gailey said there is no more bad blood.

"Sometimes, you know, you have to beat heads around a little bit with each other to get where you need to be," Gailey said.

No official agreement has been reached, but Gailey said, "We're in good shape with the city. We've pretty much got stuff finalized, we just got to ink the paper."

An attorney working on the case for the city, Kevin Tallant, said Friday work is being done toward a resolution. And City Manager Brian Lackey said in an email nothing was official yet, but "it appears the property owner is comfortable enough to take this action."

Gailey said he and the city have a similar vision for the site now.

"We have the same thing in mind as to have a good product when it's done," Gailey said. "It'll be architecturally like the apartments. It'll all fit in, and it's going to be a great asset to the community and the city."

Gailey said he hoped to open the restaurant in late spring or early summer.

"We're hoping sometime around May if everything goes good."

Reporter Nick Watson contributed to this report.

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Owner Rick Gailey looks over the site of Pepper's Market in Gainesville as the store is torn down Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Gailey says a restaurant will replace the iconic pink building. - photo by Nate McCullough