By JACK WEATHERLY
The northwest corner of County Line Road at Ridgewood Road will soon awaken after years of dormancy.
The busy intersection has had no reason to stop for a bite at the Ridgeland quadrant of the crossroads.
One Ridgeland restaurant location has been vacant for two decades and another next to it that has been empty for several years.
Hardee’s, a national chain that specializes in its “Great American Burger,” will start demolishing as soon as this month the former Ralph and Kacoo’s, which had been vacant for about 20 years, according to Alan Hart, director of community development for Ridgeland.
Shrimp Basket Restaurants will take over the former Shoney’s restaurant, empty for several years, and rework it inside and out, according Caitlin Lucas, marketing director for the Gulf Shores, Ala.-based chain that has 28 outlets across the South.
The 180-seat Shrimp Basket will open late this year after the interior and exterior are reworked, Lucas said. It will have several different all-you-can-eat specials, depending on the day – steamed shrimp, fried popcorn shrimp or fried fish – in addition to poboy sandwiches and the like on a daily basis.
Hart said that corporate decisions played a major role in the slow turnaround of the corner.
Wendy’s bought the Ralph and Kacoo’s space and was satisfied to just collect rent, Hart said. It never opened a Wendy’s, he added.
“We just had a motivation issue, and all of a sudden everything just came together, despite the many, many attempts to try to get these buildings back in service,” Hart said.
The northeast quadrant of the intersection, in Ridgeland, and the southeast quadrant in Jackson got a $2.7 million infusion of capital last year to bring two vacancies to life.
About $900,000 was spent on the former Applebee’s in Ridgeland’s North Regency Square and the $1.8 million was expended to buy and renovate the old Copeland’s in Jackson.
The eastern terminus of County Line Road likewise has been rejuvenated in the past year.
The Kroger store at 2000 E. County Line Road in Ridgeland had been vacant for nearly four years.
The Sky Zone, a trampoline-based franchise, and Crunch Fitness, a gym, divided the 62,000-square-foot building on the opposite end of County Line, long a dominant retail corridor in metro Jackson that has been struggling to keep its footing as newer retail centers siphon off prestige tenants.
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