FLORENCE — For more than a year, the southwest corner of Florence Boulevard and Cox Creek Parkway has been the site of an empty restaurant building.
The corner has thousands of cars passing daily, and soon, a new restaurant will be in business there.
The former O’Charley’s building is being demolished to make way for a LongHorn Steakhouse.
O’Charley’s closed more than a year ago, with company officials citing a number of issues that led to the closure.
Erica Jaeger, a spokeswoman for Darden Foods, which owns LongHorn, said the company has leased the site.
She said construction will begin soon, but an opening date has not been determined.
“Our new restaurants typically hire between 80 and 100 employees,” she said.
Steve Holt, president of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, said Darden is not new to the Shoals.
“They own Olive Garden and Red Lobster,” he said. “They’ve been good to this market.”
Holt said the addition of another chain restaurant indicates corporations are paying attention to local demographics and economic statistics.
“It says companies are looking at our database and retail sales volume, especially in the food category,” he said. “They see the draw we have in a 75-mile radius.”
The City Clerk’s office has not yet issued a business license, but the Building Department has issued construction permits.
Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock said the arrival of a new restaurant is a sign that Florence’s economy is in good condition.
“A national chain uses all kinds of indicators that tell them this is a good investment,” he said. “That is a positive for our area.”
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.