Krystal Co. is clearing the site of a longtime auto dealership near Lookout Mountain as officials eye the future reuse of the land.
Krystal, which bought the 4-acre former Long Pontiac dealership property on South Broad Street earlier this year, is interested in partnering in the redevelopment effort.
"We'd like to find a partner to co-develop the site with us," said Bob Marshall, vice president of development for the Chattanooga-based fast-food company.
Mr. Marshall said plans aren't final, but officials see a retail use of the parcel. He said the company plans to move its South Broad restaurant to the location, but it has a lease on the current site until fall 2011.
Michael Mallen, a principal in the group that owns a nearby 140-acre tract that makes up the former Wheland Foundry and U.S. Pipe tracts, welcomed Krystal's commitment to the area.
"That's a vote of confidence in what's happening in the area," he said.
Mr. Mallen said Krystal is an icon and part of the city's history.
"It's more evident that securing the future of 140 acres is giving people confidence to start making investments and commitments to the area," he said.
Mr. Marshall said the property, which it bought for $1.35 million from H. Nelson Long III and Saphura S. Long, could be used for offices but retail is more likely.
"We'd like to find one or two other users," the Krystal official said, adding the company is willing to sell or lease.
Krystal was founded in 1932 on Cherry Street in downtown Chattanooga and now has eateries in about a dozen states.
The business was begun by R.B. Davenport Jr. and J. Glenn Sherrill, whose families continued to own the business until it went public in 1992.
Krystal was stock-traded for five years before former Coca-Cola Enterprises Vice President Phillip H. Sanford bought the company in 1997.
Three years ago, the chain was for sale. But the company's board decided not to sell the business.