Originally created 05/14/98

Stores opt to build anew



AIKEN -- Two area businesses are constructing new buildings on the south side of Aiken, and both are close to their old locations.

Burger King on Whiskey Road is moving because its lease is expiring. Rather than renew it, the restaurant decided to move down the road to a lot in front of the old skating rink, said Lynn Zody, president of MAZ Enterprises Inc., which owns both Burger King franchises in Aiken.

The new location will be larger than the average new Burger King, he said.

The restaurant will employ more than 100 people, the same number as the current location. If everything goes according to schedule, the new restaurant will be open in mid-June, Mr. Zody said.

The loss of the Burger King leaves the shopping center at the corner of Whiskey and Pine Log roads mostly vacant. Home Depot is considering opening a store in the part of the plaza that used to be occupied by Wal-Mart.

The metal skeleton at the corner of Pine Log and Two Notch roads will house a Precision Tune Auto Care center. Construction is 10-12 weeks behind schedule because of rain, but the shop will probably open in July, said Ed Woltz, franchise owner.

It will employ eight people working in six auto-service bays, said Mr. Woltz, who owns three other Precision Tune franchises in the area.

"Aiken is a great market," Mr. Woltz said.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the new Lowe's superstore going up adjacent to its old location. The new store will cover 150,000 square feet, roughly twice the size of its old store, and should open later this year.

The old store was successful, company spokesmen said, but customers wanted a bigger store and it was easier to build another building than add on to the old one. The new store is expected to employ more than 170 people; the old store employs 110.

The company plans to sell the old location, which shouldn't take long because the old location was successful, according to Lowe's.