Chicken restaurant chain Zaxby's is charging into Seminole County, with three locations already under contract and several others planned.
Athens, Ga.-based Zaxby's Franchising LLC will "work with local tradespeople," as it builds its Seminole County sites, said Christen Hall, broker associate with Re/Max Unlimited who represents Zaxby's in Florida.
The Seminole County locations under contract include one on the northwestern edge of Sanford, taking up about one acre of a 4.8-acre parcel off S.R. 46 that now contains a shuttered Days Inn and a Denny's.
The franchisees who will operate the Zaxby's agreed to pay more than $1 million for the land, Hall said. The deal is expected to close in five to seven months, after the lot has been split.
The property also includes a Wawa that is on the cusp of the building process, just waiting to pull permits. The fuel station and convenience store, which will take up two acres at the site, was bought by Texas-based N3 Real Estate for $2.65 million in December.
There is an offer on the table for the property's third parcel from a quick service restaurant, with due diligence currently underway, GrowthSpotter has learned.
Ali Mushtaq of SVN is brokering the individual sales at the 4.8-acre property on behalf of Paramand Investment Group, whose president is Manhar Patel.
The second Seminole County Zaxby's is planned for southern Sanford, near Lake Mary Boulevard, on U.S. 17-92.
Also under contract by the restaurant chain's franchisees is a property in Oviedo, on Lockwood Boulevard.
There is talk of as many as 10 Zaxby's in Seminole County, according to people familiar with the company's considerations.
Hall said only that the restaurant chain is "looking throughout the county."
What are needed are one-acre parcels for restaurants that run 3,300- to 3,800 square feet, according to franchising specifications on the company's website.
The big push into Seminole County follows Zaxby's representatives visiting area restaurants and checking demographic and population data.
In Seminole County's case, "It is a great place," Hall said. "There is a lot of residential and employment expansion going on."
The Seminole County restaurants are expected to be overseen by a franchisee group that operates many Zaxby's in and around Jacksonville. Hall named Ron and Jessica Gosselin, Jeanne Ward and Susan Satterfield who, according to Zaxby's own press materials, are prolific location openers.
Ron Gosselin did not return requests for comment. Jessica Gosselin, Ward and Satterfield could not be reached for comment. A representative for the chain said the four were in a meeting preparing for the grand opening of another Zaxby's.
A move by Zaxby's into Seminole County would fill up 31 miles of empty space between its four locations in Orlando and the closest one north, in Orange City, according to a map on the company's website.
Zaxby's operates roughly 65 restaurants in Florida, mostly in the northern half of the state and along the panhandle. The company says it has more than 700 locations in 16 states, mostly in the southeast.
Zaxby's offerings include chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads.