Now and then, people in Albany wonder what’s going on with the former restaurant at 3225 Santiam Hwy. S.E., especially now that access to the parking lot is barred by a chain link fence.
The restaurant has been closed since January 2020, according to its Facebook page. The last entry on the page, dated Jan. 17, 2020, says: “Explanations will soon follow.”
After thanking the staff and patrons, the post adds, “I will be making a statement within 30 days.” If that happened, Facebook doesn’t show it.
The restaurant was operated by Ed Wright, and the property was owned by Russ and Barbara Tripp of Albany.
Linn County records show that last April the Tripps sold the 1.5-acre property to a Springfield-based limited liability company that invests in real estate. The records do not disclose the price.
Assuming that the buyer might have something in mind for this prime site near the Highway 20 freeway interchange, I checked with the Albany’s community development department.
“There are no formal applications at the moment,” the department’s director, Matthew Ruettgers, told me last last week. “There have been a few different pre-applications over the years, but nothing has moved forward as of yet.”
The department’s website refers to a “pre-application” for the address that was filed on July 28, 2022. It says:
“Proposal for a new Chick-Fil-A at 3225 Santiam Hwy. SE Albany 97322. This location will have interior seating for 98 and a dual lane drive through to serve customers.”
Also last year, however, Chic-fil-A, a chain based in Georgia, was planning a restaurant in Corvallis and then went ahead there.
That project, converting the former McGrath’s Fish House on Circle Boulevard, passed the Corvallis city planning review in September, according to the Gazette-Times. I haven’t looked to see if it’s being built.
In Albany meanwhile, a huge sign still tries to lure drivers from the freeway to a place that promises beakfasts “better than grandma’s” but has been closed for three years. (hh)