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Long-empty Sagebrush restaurant site in Graham has been bought, will be renovated

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A long-time eyesore in Graham will be getting a makeover, thanks to a local developer.

David Morton, who owns Holly Hill Mall and several strip shopping centers in Burlington and Graham, has bought the former Sagebrush restaurant site off South Main Street in Graham, just past I-85/40.

The restaurant closed at least ten years ago and has remained vacant and without a tenant in the years since.  Its parking lot has been a frequent venue for tractor trailers that pull in, often for drivers to sleep overnight.

Morton plans to renovate the restaurant building, with an eye toward flipping the property and selling the refurbished site it to a restaurant chain, preferably a steak house.

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Graham mayor Jennifer Talley and Morton were on hand Friday morning to look over the property with the new property owner.  Talley said the abandoned, rundown building has been the source of many complaints about its rundown condition that she has received over the years.

Graham mayor Jennifer Talley is excited over David Morton’s plans to renovate the former Sagebrush restaurant site in Graham, just off South Main Street near I-85/40. It has been vacant for at least 10 years.

Talley is encouraging Morton’s plan to seek a steakhouse tenant when he finishes the renovations.

A tin roof will be painted, Morton explained, the parking lot (which has been torn up by the tractor trailer parking) will be repaved, new lights in the parking lot will be erected, and the interior will be updated and refreshed.

Much of the current parking lot consists of big chunks of rough asphalt.

Morton noted that the heating and air conditioning for the building appeared to be in good shape.  And because the roof has been solid, there is little internal damage to the building.

In fact, he said, the previous owners apparently just closed the doors when they left, leaving furnishings and kitchen equipment, including pots and pans.

Morton bought the property on January 17, according to the county’s tax records, for $630,000.  The property last changed hands in 2013, when it was bought by Vinh X Ha for $375,000.  The property consists of approximately 1.29 acres; the restaurant building was built in 1980. Its value is listed as $408,229, although it is unclear whether that is the amount prior to the county’s newest revaluation or after.


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