New businesses on tap?

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Washington’s old City Hall, also known as the DeMille building, could be transformed into what city officials are calling a “destination restaurant.” (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Several businesses, most of them with restaurant components, are eyeing Washington as the economy gradually improves.

The Sheetz website notes this company provides “more than just a convenience store,” and one of those stores may soon be sited at the corner of West Fifth Street and Clark’s Neck Road in Washington.

The company has obtained a special-use permit from the local Board of Adjustment, said John Rodman, planning administrator for the City of Washington.

The Board of Adjustment makes decisions about special-use permits, zoning variances and other issues, according to the city’s website.

Sheetz hasn’t applied for a building permit, but has been through the city’s site plan review process, Rodman related.

If all goes well, the company could start construction of this convenience store — which would include a sit-down restaurant — this spring, he said.

“A lot of times new businesses, until they apply for a building permit I don’t say it’s a go until that time,” Rodman cautioned, adding that, of all the smaller businesses on the city’s radar, “Sheetz is the closest right now.”

Rodman said other possible new businesses looking at the Washington area are Hardee’s, which may open one of its chain restaurants near Lee Chevrolet just off U.S. Highway 264 outside the city, and Cook-Out Restaurant, which may end up launching one of its restaurants off Carolina Avenue across from Bojangle’s.

“I think if Sheetz ever gets in out by the (U.S. Highway 17) bypass that’s going to be a catalyst to jumpstart some other businesses that are interested,” he said.

Also, “We continue to have conversations with Waffle House,” Rodman said.

Waffle House has been considering a couple of properties in the city, but hasn’t submitted a site plan, Rodman said.

As recently reported in the Daily News, the new owners of the old City Hall on Market Street are working toward renovating that building before installing a new restaurant.

All of these businesses combined could create an estimated 25 to 30 jobs once they’re up and running, Rodman explained.

This points toward a continuing recovery from the Great Recession, he indicated.

“Now we’re starting to have some of that renewed interest with the city, so that’s very encouraging,” Rodman concluded.

If you’d like to nominate a Beaufort County-based business for BizLine, call 252-946-2144, ext. 230, or email