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Tire stores land deal is on hold
Gainesville city officials haven't received site plans for construction
An old Sonic restaurant on Dawsonville Highway is set to be torn down as Kauffman Tire begins building on the site. Kauffman has yet to submit plans to the city of Gainesville though it got the OK in June to build on the location. - photo by AARON HALE

Plans to get rid of an eyesore in a busy Gainesville shopping area have stalled.

The lot on Dawsonville Highway, which was abandoned by Sonic drive-in restaurant in December 2008, is slated to be the site of a Kauffman Tire store.

However, a deal to lease the land to the tire chain is taking longer than expected.

Gainesville city officials say they still haven't received site plans for construction on the land.

"We were expecting plans by now," said Rusty Ligon, Gainesville community development director.

Amy Ouellette, a spokeswoman for Kauffman Tire, said the Atlanta-based company is still in negotiations with the land owner.

Kauffman Tire received a green light to build on the site in June.

The demolition of the old Sonic and the construction of the new store won't happen until Kauffman Tire submits site plans to the city. That won't happen until the company secures a deal for the site.

That has left the property, which sits near prime Gainesville shopping, vacant except for the stripped, rusty shell of the restaurant.

Lee Hemmer, real estate broker for the Simpson Co., which represents the owner of the lot, said the deal with Kauffman Tire is "still up the air."

If that fish doesn't bite, there are other commercial interests in the sea.

"We've got five others that would like to proceed with it if Kauffman Tire doesn't," Hemmer said.

When asked for a time frame for when a deal with one of the lots suitors may be finalized, Hemmer said, "It will be decided soon. Very soon."

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