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City issues building permits for Prego’s, Hursey’s Bar-B-Q, Publix; construction underway at each


Burlington’s inspections department has issued building permits that will allow two local restaurants to set up shop in new locations.

The inspections department issued one permit on January 11 for the renovation of a existing building at 422 Huffman Mill Road on behalf of Prego’s Trattoria. The Italian-themed restaurant, which formerly occupied an outparcel at Holly Hill Mall, was recently displaced to make room for a new Publix grocery store.

The former Panera location at 422 Huffman Mill Road is being renovated to permit the reopening of Prego’s Trattoria, a popular Italian-theme restaurant formerly located on an outparcel at Holly Hill Mall. That site was razed to make way for the Publix grocery store now being built.

The permitted renovation, which has an estimated cost of $50,000, will allow Prego’s to take over a vacant space that had previously been home to Panera before the latter’s relocation to a neighboring property.


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The inspections department issued another permit on January 14 for new location of Hursey’s Bar-B-Q at 3721 South Church Street.

Another Hursey’s BBQ restaurant is being built at the corner of South Church Street and Westbrook Avenue in west Burlington.

The locally-based restaurant chain has previously submitted plans for a shopping center at this site, which is situated at South Church Street’s juncture with Westbrook Avenue. The latest version of these plans, which received a nod from a staff-level technical review committee last fall, calls for three buildings with footprints of 3,900, 6,000 and 19,200 square feet respectively. The smallest of these three structures, which occupies the place of honor at the corner of this development, has been reserved for a new Hursey’s location.

In the summer of 2019, Chuck Hursey, a grandson of the chain’s founder, told The Alamance News that this proposed eatery won’t necessarily replace any of Hursey’s other locations. Although a road widening project could endanger the chain’s flagship restaurant at the intersection of South Church Street and Alamance Road, Hursey insisted that the new eatery is primarily intended to give the company a bigger bite of the growing market in west Burlington and Elon.

Hursey’s plans for this restaurant received a boost in December of 2019 when Burlington’s city council agreed to rezone the entire 3.9-acre site of the proposed shopping center. Within two weeks of the council’s decision, the chain formally purchased this property for $1.3 million. Four months later, Hursey’s sold off a 2.78-acre chunk of the tract to a limited liability corporation associated with David Morton, a co-owner of Holly Hill Mall.

Since this transaction, Morton’s corporation has broken ground on the two larger buildings that appear in the proposed shopping center’s plans.

See earlier story on construction of the two larger buildings on the same corner:

Hursey’s, which still owns the 1.14 acres at the corner of this development’s site, applied for its own construction permit on December 28.

According to the inspections department’s records, the chain’s newest location will built by Larry Shambley Construction at an estimated cost of $750,000.


In addition to green lighting the two restaurants, the city’s inspections department has also issued a raft of permits for the new Publix grocery store, whose proposed site at the east end of Holly Hill Mall that had formerly been home to the Sears department store. Last year, contractors in the employ of the Florida-based grocery chain demolished the department store along with several other structures in the vicinity. Since then, Publix’ agents have applied for construction permits to build a new grocery store as well as two other structures to house smaller retailers.

This angle looks at Holly Hill Mall, showing what was the back wall of the former Sears store.

On January 26, the inspections department issued four permits for these proposed edifices to be erected by Omega Construction. One permit for a parcel at 2750 South Church Street calls for the construction of a 48,387-square-foot structure for the new Publix supermarket. Another permit issued for the same street address allows a 1,981 square-foot canopy to be built onto the grocery store.

The two other permits, which were issued for 140 Huffman Mill Road, allow one 13,400 square-foot building to go up next to the Publix canopy and another with 9,200 square feet of floor space to be constructed elsewhere on the property.

This is the site plan for the Publix-related construction that will occupy the location of the former Sears, Sears Auto Center, and Prego’s restaurant that occupied this end of the Holly Hill Mall. In addition to a 48,387 square foot Publix, the plans call for 13,400 square feet of retail space beside Publix, 9,750 feet in an outparcel where the former auto center stood, and 4,000 square feet for a separate building on the Huffman Mill side of the new Publix. Building permits have been issued for the first three structures, but not yet for the fourth.

The two buildings at 140 Huffman Mill Road appear to correspond to a couple of retail structures that appear in the site plan for Publix’s new supermarket. The latest version of this plan, which received a nod from a staff-level technical review committee in July, depicts a total of three footprints apart from the proposed grocery store. One which covers 13,400 square feet would be situated near the project’s entrance off of South Church Street, while another some 9,750 square feet in size would be erected in the same spot as the former Sears auto center. These footprints, which are designated for “retail shops” on the site plan, seem to more or less match the two edifices described in the building permits.

The site plan also features a third set of retail shops with a footprint of 4,000 square feet that would be located west of Longhorn Steakhouse. At this point, the city’s inspections department doesn’t appear to have issued any construction permits for this structure.

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