SEBRING - After it was reported in March that Golden Corral may build a restaurant in Sebring, Ray Tharp, owner of the Lake Placid franchise, said he was deluged with inquiries.
Two months later, that hasn't changed.
"There isn't a day that goes by without someone asking about that," he said Monday.
As of Monday, the possibility that Golden Corral would buy land from the city of Sebring for the restaurant remained alive.
Scott Noethlich, Sebring city manager, said that the city is determining whether the property can accommodate the restaurant and a new aeration tank that helps improve the quality of the city water. The city engineer is working on determining that, he said.
If the engineer said the land can be used for both structures, it's likely the Sebring City Council will consider on June 18 whether to accept an offer from Golden Corral.
Should that not work out, the city may be faced with building the aeration tank where the restaurant would be built or at a separate location near the city's golf course, Noethlich said.
Another issue regarding the property near the city's fire station on U.S. 27 has been resolved. That involved how close the restaurant could be built near a water utility structure. The City Council reduced the distance after the city determined that its regulations were tighter than what was required by the state.
Whether the price will be a stumbling block has yet to be resolved.
Tharp said Golden Corral offered a lower price than it may have offered on other property. That's because there will be more to developing the land than just clearing it, he said.
Golden Corral may end up spending well over $100,000 demucking the property, building an acceleration lane and constructing a turn lane near the property, he said.
Golden Corral is considering two other properties, he said.
The chain prefers that the restaurant be somewhere in the area of the Lakeshore Mall, as opposed to being south and possibly impacting the Lake Placid location, he said.
He also said that the mall area is near the highest traffic count area.