ELLSWORTH — Eleven months after the High Street Burger King closed its doors, those doors remain shuttered, despite inklings that it would reopen as a Burger King.
In May, real estate investment company M&H Springwater LLC bought the property at auction. Then, in September, the city Code Enforcement Office issued a building permit to Buffalo, N.Y.-based Lauer Manguso Architects for $800,000 in renovations.
Architect Patrick J. Mahoney, who applied for the permit, said Nov. 18 that Burger King franchise Carrols Corp., which owns and operates over 1,000 Burger King and Popeyes restaurants, had shown interest in the property.
“They are one of our clients,” Mahoney said. “We had full plans ready to go … Now it’s on hold.”
Mahoney said the increased expenses associated with renovations may have been behind Carrols’ most recent action.
“We don’t know much more,” Mahoney said, explaining that typically “with these kinds of things,” potential lessees have 30 days to decide before it goes back on the lease market.
“It doesn’t mean [Burger King] doesn’t come back to life. But it doesn’t mean it does,” Mahoney said.
So, the mystery — and guessing game — of what business will fill the 205 High St. building remains.
Mahoney further explained that Carrols Corp., like all Burger King franchise holders, is beholden to RBI International, the Brazilian company that owns Burger King. RBI International mandates image changes that force franchise holders to renovate and also dictates price. That means that if renovation expenses shoot up, the franchisee can’t recoup costs by raising food prices.
“So, one way or the other, it’s still on hold,” Mahoney concluded.