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Downtown Albany awaits new eateries

Waffle House and Dunkin Donuts projects moving forward

Albany Downtown Manager and Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority CEO Aaron Blair said all permits have been approved to begin construction on a new Waffle House in downtown Albany on Oglethorpe Boulevard where the former Bank of America drive through is currently located. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

Albany Downtown Manager and Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority CEO Aaron Blair said all permits have been approved to begin construction on a new Waffle House in downtown Albany on Oglethorpe Boulevard where the former Bank of America drive through is currently located. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

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Construction began last week to renovate and remodel the Homerun Foods on Olgethorpe Boulevard in downtown Albany in preparation for the arrival a Dunkin Donuts at the location. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

ALBANY — The much anticipated arrival of Dunkin Donuts in downtown Albany has moved a little closer to fruition now that construction has begun to renovate the Homerun Foods location on Oglethorpe Boulevard to make room for the nationally-known restaurant.

In addition to that progress, things are also looking favorable for construction to begin on the new Waffle House location, also on Oglethorpe, now that plans have been approved and permits obtained.

According to Albany Downtown Manager and Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) CEO Aaron Blair, everything is on track for construction of the Waffle House on the property that formerly housed the Bank of America drive-thru windows, across from the Albany Civic Center.

“Everything’s fully approved,” said Blair. “It’s in their pipeline.”

Blair said there is not an official time frame for starting or completing the restaurant due to the nature of how Waffle House handles new construction. Blair said the construction company for Waffle Houses maintains a list of future stores and for the most part just moves down the list as stores are completed.

“It’s in holding waiting for the Waffle House contractor,” said Blair. “When they finish the one their currently building, they’ll move on to the next one. They’re just moving down the list.”

Blair said he did not know what other locations were on the list and has no idea where the downtown Albany location sits on the list.

While the Waffle House still remains somewhat a mystery, Dunkin Donuts is much closer to opening its doors. Construction crews handling remodeling and renovation of the western end of the Homerun Foods location have been hard at work preparing the space for Dunkin Donuts’ arrival.

According to Jeff Lanier, Vice President and owner of Brad Lanier Oil Co., which owns Homerun Foods, the renovations to the store include remodeling the inside and front of the building, expanding the existing drive through and adding a patio for outdoor dining.

“That end of the building is going to be totally redone,” Lanier said. “It’s going to be completely different and state-of-the-art. It’s going to be nice.”

Lanier said LRA Constructors Inc. is handling the work. The franchisee who will operate the restaurant is hoping for everything to be completed by the end of July.

“They’re shooting for the end of July, but that might be ambitious,” Lanier said. “Weather always plays a part in these things. I know they’ve got a full crew there and they’re working hard to get it finished.”