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Don’t Look for Waldo’s in West Little RockLock Icon

2 min read

We’re told not to bother looking for Waldo in the aftermath of a recent $2.7 million transaction in west Little Rock.

Waldo’s Chicken & Beer will not be setting up shop at 101 S. Bowman Road, although the property’s new ownership includes some names behind the rollout of as many as 20 of the franchised eateries in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

South Bowman LLC, which includes Little Rock restaurateurs Jim Keet and sons Tommy and Jake, bought the 16,055-SF combination David’s Burgers and bank branch from Arvest Bank of Fayetteville.

For now, South Bowman will merely operate the property as a landlord. But plans are to redevelop the building into one of Fresh Hospitality’s concepts, but not a Waldo’s.

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Exactly which item from the Nashville, Tennessee, restaurant group’s menu of other concepts is still under wraps, but the new venture at the southeast corner of Bowman and Markham would replace David’s Burgers.

As we understand it, David’s lease expires on May 1, 2021; however, there is a five-year option to renew, the first of two remaining on the agreement. That would set the table for some sort of lease buyout.

Meanwhile, a long-running legal dispute awaits resolution. Jan. 17 will mark the fourth anniversary of landlord-tenant litigation between Arvest and David’s Burgers.

Arvest is no longer the landlord, but David Bubbus was counterclaiming the bank owed him unspecified damages in their disagreement. That controversy was to go before a jury seven months ago until COVID disrupted the court dockets.

We reported on the tussle more than three years ago. Back in June 2017, Bubbus offered what proved to be an overly optimistic assessment that a settlement would soon be reached.

Arvest was exploring the possibility of selling the property for redevelopment as a CVS Pharmacy.

Bubbus wanted to negotiate lower monthly rent and a first-right of refusal to buy the property in exchange for a provision to end the lease to facilitate a redevelopment-motivated sale.

Arvest inherited the property and its David’s Burgers lease in 2013 through the $9.6 million acquisition of North Little Rock’s National Bank of Arkansas.

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