0

Olive Garden submits site plan for Albany

Albany Inn owners say the decision to raze the $4 million hotel wasn't made lightly.

— ALBANY — Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden, has filed an official site plan and a host of permits with the city of Albany's planning department, signaling its intention to bring the Italian restaurant to Northwest Albany.

According to the plans filed Thursday, the company wants to build a 7,537-square-foot restaurant at the corner of Westover Boulevard and Dawson Road at the existing site of the Inn at Albany Mall.

If the company clears the regulatory hurdles, the Albany restaurant will be the second planned Olive Garden in south Georgia. Darden announced earlier plans to build a restaurant in Valdosta.

In a statement to The Albany Herald, Umang and Milan Patel of Indusa Investments, the owners of the Inn at the Albany Mall, said Thursday that the decision to demolish the hotel to make way for the restaurant came after lengthy negotiations and that, at front of their minds, was the impact to their employees and customers.

"The decision to raze a $4 million dollar business was not taken lightly. Undertaking such a deal would have significant direct ramifications. At the forefront of this matter were the immediate job losses at the Inn at Albany Mall and Silverleaf restaurant businesses currently operating at the site," Umang Patel said.

"We assessed the deal from every perspective, and we strongly feel this transaction will greatly benefit the city of Albany, its residents, and its workforce at a most crucial economic time."

The Patels believe the Olive Garden deal will create 100 new jobs, with 200 new jobs expected to be generated over the life-cycle of the site.

Before the City Commission is a rezoning request that deals with the property. Additionally, city planning officials have 30 days to review the site plan and get it back to the principals so the process can move forward.

At some point, the City Commission will then have to consider approval of an alcohol license application for the restaurant.

Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff, who represents the northwest part of town where the restaurant will be built, said he liked the news and would encourage city staff to follow-through.

"It’s great news," Langstaff said. "I’m confident that (City Manager) Jim Taylor and the rest of the involved city staff will continue to do what it takes to make this development a reality."

In his statement, Milan Patel applauded local economic officials and city government for helping make the deal possible, though there are still some aspects that will have to be resolved.

"This venture was made possible through tremendous support and guidance from the people at the Albany (Dougherty) Economic Development (Commission) and the Albany Planning Department," Milan Patel said. "Albany is a pro-business town and supportive of bringing new development to this area. City leaders are progressive and do not let bureaucracy interfere with sound business judgment. Their collective efforts were instrumental in allowing us to court an Olive Garden development to our site and bring a great brand to a great city."

"Above all else, I would like to stress that this deal is full of contingencies that have to be satisfied prior to Olive Garden starting construction at our site. There are still many hurdles that have yet to be overcome before this deal is fully consummated," Milan Patel said.

Calls seeking comment from Darden Restaurants' Corporate offices weren't returned Thursday.

Comments

iko 2 years, 5 months ago

This must be stopped!! Call out Business Harrassment (Code Enforcement)!! Call Judy Bowles! These people are trying to open a private business here! Stop them!!

0

whatintheworld 2 years, 5 months ago

I am with you. We have better business here and do not need this non american flag business here !!!!

0

wwbnr 2 years, 5 months ago

Nice to here We have another good resturant coming to town, just hope they bring staff with them from out of town. Slim pickins around here to find competent help.

0

whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

All i can say is I am whelmed, bordering on over in this case! I didn't believe it would happen at this location although I felt OG was a matter of time. The motel hasn't been a thriver regardless of who had it so in my book there is not a downside with razing. Traffic flow won't be good by a long shot but such is life.

0

yea1981 2 years, 5 months ago

This News is awesome. Making greatness happen in bad times is a great testament of character. Let us give praise to everybody that made this possible. Can't wait to patronize the open business.

0

TheMember 2 years, 5 months ago

After reading all the squawks in the squawkbox over the past few years, I guess it has finally happened. All the squawks read was, "all Albany needs is a Olive Garden" So now we are getting one, lets see how far it gets us.

0

Cartman 2 years, 5 months ago

Waiting on the downtown folks to try and gerrymander the new location into the downtown economic district, like they did Wal-Mart. lol.

0

whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

This one may be a tad to far to put in the TAD, Carts. Perhaps they can get a facade grant though. :)

0

jaytea 2 years, 5 months ago

Did the city see the Silver Leaf becoming the Sandtrap Northwest? I think there are better locations on Westover for OG. At least we'll have a short-term boost.

0

keshipearl06 2 years, 5 months ago

What about the current employees of the hotel and the Silver leaf? With how the economy is now and the shortage of jobs are they receiving any type of severance package or anything? I feel for the ones who currently work there! I dont understand...wouldnt it be cheaper to buy a restuarant or buliding thats already built instead of demoishing a building then rebuilding a building from the ground up??

0

waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

I like the location, and the Olive Garden. Now lets hope the Governmental folks try to work with these people and not see how much cash they can bleed them for, or how many of their relatives they can get hired.

0

whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

No problem with the relatives, Walt. DCSS is the employer of choice for nepotism.

0

VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

I wonder how many traffic jams and accidents will happen with people trying to get in and out with the traffic flowing on Westover and Dawson? With the poor drivers in Albany, I imagine quite a few. Like any new restauant, they will have a good staff to get a good impression and then as time goes by and people leave and replaced, the service will go down.

0

waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

One, there is a traffic light there at the corner to help with traffic flow. Two, Albany drivers are about average for any City. Three, I can send you to several Olive Gardens where the service is still every bit as good as it was when it opened. Every one I have been too, has been professionally run, whether it's in Charleston, SC, Burlington, VT or Columbus, GA. Just like Outbacks.

0

VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Traffic light means nothing in Albany, some people don't recognize traffic lights and run right through them. I see it all the time. Olive garden has never been in Albany before, so we'll wait and see about the service.

0

waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

Have you ever had bad service at Outback or Longhorn's. If you had I would be suprised, as both places really monitor the staff, just as Olive Garden will. Some restaurants draw the good workers for the tips, and the restaurants don't put up with much from the staff because there is always someone waiting for the servers job.

0

VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Well the person doing the monitoring must have been asleep as a couple of weeks ago I went to Longhorns to pick up a carryout and had to pick it up at the bar, but had to wait for what seemed like 20 minutes to get waited on while the server was busy refilling the glasses for all those alcoholics around the bar. The food was sitting there on the counter getting cold before she finally asked if she could help me. I hope she wasn't upset that I didn't leave her a $10 tip like I had intended to when I walked in.

0

LeeCo 2 years, 5 months ago

Look at the site plan. There are no left turns from of either exit. Right turns only. Hopefully this will alleviate SOME of the traffic problems.

0

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

O MY GOD seriously did anyone read what Umang and Milan Patel wrote in their statement? “This venture was made possible through tremendous support. Albany is a pro-business town and supportive of bringing new development to this area. City leaders are progressive and do not let bureaucracy interfere with sound business judgment.” Obviously this is not a “Done Deal” and they are having to KISS ass….. Really? Since when did Albany Leaders become “Progressive” and just when did they become “Pro-Business”. Repeating a catchy slogan does not make you PRO-Business. Seriously using gun toting “Code Enforcers” to harass businesses and allowing non-business people like Judy Bowles to set the rules for the business community is NOT “Progressive” I hope Umang and Milan get their 4 million dollars and Olive Garden in Albany does come true, I just wonder if Umang and Milan will hang around and spend that 4 mill in “Progressive, Pro-Business” Albany or run like hell?

0

whatintheworld 2 years, 5 months ago

as a vet and in recent story,s about OG and the american flag i will not spend my money there. I do not go and spend my money where the flag is not welcome.As an american i lost all respect for this company.

0

waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

Now I have looked this thing up, would you be referring to the Alabama incident? Where a misinterpretation of Corporate rules led the Manager to tell a Lady she couldn't bring the American Flag, full size, into the restaurant for a Kawanis meeting. He quoted the policy as addressing all flags and banners. This to avoid disruption of the restaurant by banners and flags blocking traffic flow? Is that the one? Where Corporate apologized for the mistake? Where the rule makes sence? They never said they couldn't have had small flags on the table, or display them in a reasonable manner. If thats the case I believe you have been led astray as to the actual incident. By the way, I am a Vet and regularly write about it and the respect it deserves. I also know and often quote the US Flag Code. I won't boycott over someone trying to sensationalize an honest error.

0

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

Wait What? Milan Patel said: "This venture was made possible through tremendous support, Albany is Pro-business, and City leaders are progressive and do not interfere with sound business judgment”. Well guess this means it is just the small businesses that get the same old Albany government treatment and a 4 million deal gets special red carpet treatment.

0

Fullcourtpress1906 2 years, 5 months ago

no wonder Albany cant get business to come......people are too busy trying to think of negative things to say or do before the business opens....change your state of mind and perhaps your surroundings will change too.

0

VSU 2 years, 4 months ago

Negative thoughts, really? Well somebody said wait until all the other restaurants lose all there customers and go out of business. There's something positive for you. Although I don't think that will happen. As any new restaurant, they will be busy at first but then it will tater down once the service goes down and people realize this OG isn't like other OG's, which is pretty much the norm for Albany.

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 5 months ago

Listen to the sucking sound of all the other restaurants around becoming empty while everyone flocks into OG. I give Johnny Carino's 6 months tops after they open.

The Inn at Albany doesn't really have a lot of people staying there anymore, so I think this is a good addition to that corner. The people who work at the hotel will have the opportunity to apply with OG just like anyone else.

I'm hoping that OG's quality won't suffer once they get here. As much as I like Outback, their service here and food just isn't at the level at the others that I've eaten at in other cities. Please OG, take a page out of the book of Chik-Fil-A. They have good folks there and people continue to pack that location. Their food is decent, the customer service staff doesn't look at you with disdain and they always have a good attitude.

I'm glad we've got OG in our future and I hope we don't mess this up.

0

Moe 2 years, 5 months ago

It's not too late, folks, this can still be stopped. Taking some of the earlier posts as inspiration, we need to make sure they get a visit from some of our pistol-wearing welfare cases driving "Code Enforcement" vehicles. These Code Enforcement parasites will know nothing about the real economy or having real jobs that don't feed off of taxpayers, but they will be more than happy to inflict themselves on those that do.

Also, Olive Gardens typically have nice signs. The Code Enforcement slobs need to obnoxiously wave around a copy of our sign ordinance and insist the Olive Garden be identified with something akin to an aluminum real-estate sign planted behind a shrub. If they have 200 parking spaces, it should be demanded that 150 of them be handicapped.

We need to send in a series of commissioners to demand payoffs (i.e. donations). Also, we should give their HR department a complete copy of the Herald's reporting on the CRTC scandal so the parent company is fully advised on the kind of workforce our school system produces.

0

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 4 months ago

Seriously did anyone read what Umang Patel wrote in his statement? “This venture was made possible through tremendous support. Albany is a pro-business town and supportive of bringing new development to this area. City leaders are progressive and do not let bureaucracy interfere with sound business judgment.” Really? Since when did Albany Leaders become “Progressive” and just when did they become “Pro-Business”. Repeating a catchy slogan does not make you PRO-Business. Seriously using gun toting “Code Enforcers” to harass businesses and allowing non-business people like Judy Bowles to set the rules for the business community is NOT “Progressive” I hope Umang and Milan get their 4 million dollars and Olive Garden in Albany does come true, I just wonder if Umang and Milan will hang around and spend that 4 mill in “Progressive, Pro-Business” Albany or run for the hills?

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

Now that OG is coming, there's only one more thing I need to make me happy--a Best Buy.

0

VSU 2 years, 4 months ago

Once the welfare & entitlement people come in and get all their freebies and the restaurant starts losing money on food cost and have to cut staff, that will take care of the service.

0

Perspective 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow! This is great news for Albany. It is sad that there are narrow minded people who have nothing better to do than find fault in things. Since when did growth become such a bad thing? Up until recently the corner of Westover and Dawson was virtually unused space that was not utilized for it's potential. This company came in and actually did something to bring attention to this space with the Albany Inn and Silverleaf. Now, they plan to bring Olive Garden to Albany. If you ask me, they have done nothing but bring positive attention to Albany, which is more than what I can say for those who are sitting behind their computers and posting negative comments. I applaud these guys and their efforts to help Albany grow!

0

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow is Right Mr Perspective!!! Why is it when people tell the honest truth on here they are “Narrow Minded” I agree growth in Albany would be good thing. But lets be honest that hotel has been losing money for years and to avoid FORECLOSURE the ownership was TRANSFERED IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE earlier this year. I would bet the Patels are thanking their lucky stars Darden Restaurants wants to help them unload this before foreclosure comes knocking again. Be honest the Patels were just lucky because the hotel was never going to be a booming hotel again. IF the Patels stay in Albany and reinvest their 4 million then I will be applauding and praising them too, but being Lucky is just that LUCK. Now for OG as with any new restaurant in Albany they will hire the best staff they can and they will be busy at first but then it will change as every other NEW restaurant has. The top wait staff will begin leaving as they realize how the masses in Albany demand good service yet pay low or no tips. Once the top wait staff begins leaving the positions will be filled with locals who don’t care about serving anyone but their buddies and the OG will just be another victim of Albany. I sincerely hope for a different outcome for OG but the proven history of Albany is hard to dispute.

0

Sign in to comment