Green Park panel approves plans for new Lion’s Choice, Golden Corral

Golden Corral would create roughly 180 jobs upon opening

By BURKE WASSON

Plans that would lead to the development of a new Lion’s Choice restaurant and the addition of a Golden Corral buffet restaurant along South Lindbergh Boulevard were unanimously approved last week by the Green Park Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission approved plans for the new Lion’s Choice restaurant’s final plat at the former site of Fantasy Coachworks at 6032 S. Lindbergh Blvd. That project also calls for realigning Yuma and Flori drives at their intersections with Lindbergh Boulevard.

City officials previously have estimated that the new Lion’s Choice restaurant could open as soon as April.

Once the new Lion’s Choice opens and the existing Lion’s Choice at 6106 S. Lindbergh Blvd. is demolished, construction will begin on a Golden Corral restaurant at 6110 S. Lindbergh Blvd. near the intersection with Flori Drive.

The commission last week unanimously approved a preliminary development plan for the Golden Corral’s construction.

Golden Corral franchise operators told the commission that the restaurant would result in the immediate creation of more than 180 jobs upon opening with 80 to 100 of those new hires being retained after the first few months.

Golden Corral has purchased property for a new restaurant from Lion’s Choice, and a second adjacent lot remains for sale.

While 54th Street Grill & Bar had proposed building a new restaurant adjacent to Golden Corral, the company decided against coming to Green Park after learning that Lion’s Choice representatives would rather sell than lease the property.

Those businesses will have a sales tax imposed through a community improvement district, or CID, to fund public infrastructure improvements for the Lion’s Choice redevelopment area. Revenue will be generated by an additional sales tax of up to 1 percent on sales within the redevelopment area.

The first phase of the Lion’s Choice development calls for the construction of the new Lion’s Choice to the north of a new, signalized “T” intersection at Flori Drive and Lindbergh Boulevard.

Dianne Graham of Realty Exchange previously told aldermen that two developers are interested in also constructing a residential component — likely attached villas for seniors — in a potential future phase.

As for the CID, infrastructure improvements to be funded include traffic needs, relocation of utilities and stormwater improvements. The estimated cost to be funded by that CID would be $900,000.

And while a new traffic signal at Flori and Lindbergh will be placed at the new Lion’s Choice location, another project to build a QuikTrip convenience store and gas station also calls for a modification of the traffic light at Lindbergh and Concord Drive from a three-way light to a four-way light and a realignment of Concord at Lindbergh with the new development.