Where others have failed in University Place, Applebee’s will build.
The national restaurant chain has sealed a transaction to lease space on the site of a former Chinese buffet — and an erstwhile Blockbuster video store — at the University Village shopping center.
The restaurant will share the overall site with an Albertsons grocery, Radio Shack and other retailers near the intersection of Bridgeport Way and 40th Avenue.
The site of the short-lived Chinese buffet will be leveled, and the new restaurant will rise.
“The building went dark in December,” said Randy Boss, chief operating officer of WWR Properties, which owns the shopping center. “We had a former Blockbuster’s, we had a vacancy, we put a Chinese buffet into the building and it didn’t last long.”
The buffet opened last July following an investment of some $500,000, Boss said, then closed before the year ended.
“We had already talked to Applebee’s previous to that,” he said. “They couldn’t make the building work. We did the deal with the Chinese guys, then went back to Applebee’s. They sent a team.”
They finally reached an agreement for a 20-year lease for the site, Boss said. Applebee’s will construct a purpose-built 5,400-square-foot restaurant on the site.
Demolition will take perhaps 10 days, he said, and then builders will spend perhaps another 120 days to construct the new building and fit the interior.
Residents can expect an opening as early as late September, Boss said.
An Applebee’s representative was unavailable for comment Friday.
Mariza Craig, University Place assistant city manager, said, “For a while, we were expecting them to be in Town Center. We’re pleased that they have found a suitable place next to Homestead Park and Town Center.”
She said she was aware that Applebee’s has recently opened a similar outlet in Gig Harbor.
“They’re always packed,” she said. “From a city perspective, we’re very happy they’re coming to University Place.”
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535