New Life for Piggott Sonic Project

Thursday, April 27, 2017
The vacant lot at the corner of East Main and North Thornton in Piggott will be the site for the proposed new Sonic restaurant pending city approval of the plans.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

Pending approval of a variance by the Piggott Planning and Zoning Commission, the plans to build a new Sonic restaurant in Piggott are one step closer to reality this week. The effort, first announced in early 2015, was expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months. Now, over two years later the project is back on track.

In March of 2015 the former Shell station, located at the corner of East Main Street and North Thornton Avenue, was sold to the firm Davis, Hull and Rowden, LLC, of Heber Springs. The company, which owned and operated some 24 Sonics at the time, planned to begin construction sometime in 2016.

In the months since the lot was cleared, and has remained vacant awaiting further action by the company. Over the course of this period, when inquiries were made by city officials the company maintained they were still planning to construct the new restaurant on the busy corner, but had no timetable.

Recently, the process resumed and city officials were contacted for consideration of company plans.

“The Planning and Zoning Commission has been asked the by the company building the new Sonic for a variance on the set-back,” Brian Haley told council members at Monday night's meeting. “They want to maximize the lot, and would need a variance for the west side along North Thornton.”

He indicated the plans called for a covered dining area with tables along a portion of the west side of the lot, prompting the request for the variance.

“We have a 25-foot set back and they would need a sizeable variance with the current plans,” he added. “A hearing on the request will be held at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, May 5.”

When the project was first announced company officials expected the new Sonic to employ between 40 and 50 people. They indicated the Piggott site had been evaluated by Sonic corporate, and was expected to do well.

The former Piggott Sonic opened in the late 1970s, and closed in the spring of 2014 for remodeling. In the weeks following the owners deemed the repairs too costly, and chose to close the business. At the time they were also the owners of the Rector Sonic, and a location in West Plains, Mo.

In August of that year Davis, Hull and Rowden purchased the Rector location and the franchise rights for the Piggott site. Following the acquisition they indicated there was a three year window of opportunity for building a new Sonic in Piggott.

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