Last week, a listing showed up on commercial real estate marketplace LoopNet, advertising a property at 777 Ponce de Leon Ave NE. The building that currently sits on the site is home to Dugan's, a sports bar that's been in the neighborhood since 1982, and the listing calls it a "trophy location" for a future Chick-fil-A. But, the team at Dugan's wasn't aware of any plans to close the restaurant.
"We're not closing. It's a rumor," one employee told Eater Atlanta. Creative Loafing followed up, and general manager Mike Hamlin told the paper the company owns the property, and he was talking to his attorney to "contact everyone and find out what's going on." Dugan's took to Facebook to deny reports of an impending shutter.
***ATTENTION*** Rumors concerning sale of Dugans Ponce post are NOT true!! We look forward to serving our Great Customers for years to come!! So....Lets get into some March Madness Fun!!Posted by Dugans Ponce on Friday, March 18, 2016
Now, another twist. Real estate news outlet BisNow reported more details on the listing Thursday, citing Marcus & Millichap agent Don McMinn as marketing the property for "unnamed owners." The report claims Chick-fil-A has signed a Letter of Intent for a 20-year lease that would pay $216,000 per year. The potential contract reportedly would include 10 percent increases every five years, which would be "one of the highest ground rents the chain has paid so far in the Southeast," according McMinn. But, Louis Chambers, who owns the Dugan's property, adamantly denies reports that Chick-fil-A is poised for a takeover — at least for now.
"There is no contract with Chick-fil-A, there never has been," Chambers said in a phone conversation with Eater Atlanta. "The property is being marketed, yes, but we've been there for 30-plus years. There's a lot of opposition to us closing. Unless I get what I want for the real estate, I wouldn't do anything."
Chambers indicated he was not comfortable with the property being marketed as a potential location for Chick-fil-A: "It was a very aggressive broker who did that. The neighborhood is very hot. If the price came along, I would [consider selling]. But right now there's no plans of doing that."
Eater Atlanta has reached out to McMinn and Chick-fil-A for more information.