A two-year legal battle is apparently over, clearing the way for a Kum & Go convenience store to begin construction on a Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard location in Fayetteville.
Two years ago, the Des Moines, Iowa, chain agreed to pay more than $1.6 million for the former Blockbuster video rental location at 2222 W. MLK Jr. Blvd. The sellers were William Rodney Coats and Brian Smith, the leaders of the restaurant franchisee company SmitCo Eateries of Springdale through their SCE Properties LLC subsidiary.
Before the sale could be finalized and the development moved forward, a neighboring hotel owner filed suit in Washington County Circuit Court in May 2020 for a temporary and permanent injunction. Janak Patel of Bentonville had paid $4 million through his Golden Hospitality LLC for the 78-room Candlewood Suites in 2011, and four of the hotel’s parking spots for disabled motorists (along with its dumpster, signage and electrical transformer) were on the SmitCo property that was being sold to Kum & Go.
SmitCo filed a counterclaim against Golden Hospitality, and the three entities traded legal discourse for the next two years. Earlier this month, the three sides petitioned Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin to dismiss the suits with prejudice — meaning they cannot be refiled — and the case was formally dismissed.
There is no record of any agreement the parties made to settle the dispute outside of court. Patel was represented by Bill Watkins of Watkins Boyer Gray & Curry of Rogers, SmitCo was represented by Michael Daily of Daily & Woods of Fort Smith, and Kum & Go was represented by Eric Berger of the Rogers office of Wright Lindsey & Jennings of Little Rock.
The current state, then, is Kum & Go — through its KG Store 425 LLC — will pay SmitCo $1.659 million for the 1.1-acre property. SmitCo acquired the property for $1.45 million in 2017, six years after the Blockbuster location closed. It has been a moving company’s base since then.