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New I-20 Restaurants Eye December OpeningS

The economic boom in the Pecos area will result in one restaurant returning to town, in a location it had looked at for a new site almost two decades ago, while another is in the process of moving from it’s longtime location to a new site on the Interstate 20 corridor.

Building construction is scheduled to begin in the next two weeks on a new store for Kentucky Fried Chicken, which closed its longtime Pecos location on South Eddy Street 11 years ago. It will be the second new restaurant under construction on the north side of the Interstate 20-U.S. 285 interchange, as work already is underway on a new Sonic Drive-In on the northwest corner of the interchange.

Sonic has been planning a new building at that site for almost two years. According to the general contractor for the project, Randy Batteas, construction is scheduled for completion around the third week in December.

Batteas said it was his understanding the current Sonic location on West Third Street will be shuttered upon completion, but he wasn't certain on that.

The project is being overseen by Mira Enterprises, a “preferred builder” for Sonic.

The work on the KFC site isn’t as far along, but its construction manager also expects to be open for business before the end of the year.

“We’re hoping to open up before the end of the year, hopefully before Christmas,” said Larry Rueles, construction manager for Ampex Brands of Dallas, which will own the new KFC at 5102 S. Cedar St.

Rueles said problems with the former Interstate Gulf station site delayed the original start date for the KFC, and it was problems with underground gas tanks at that location back in 1999 ago which stopped the former owner of the area’s KFC franchises from building a KFC/Taco Bell combo at the I-20/U.S. 285 interchange.

The new store will be a KFC-only restaurant, which will be 2,500 square feet and will seat 45 people.

“We have the ones in Odessa, Midland, Fort Stockton and also Lubbock,” Rueles said. “But this will be the first ground-up store we’ve build with the new image.”

He said work already has been done to clear off the site, which Ampex purchased earlier this year from owner Nick (Narendra) Mistry, who continues to have an ownership option on 3.07 acres behind the KFC site, where he plans to build a new motel.

“The dirt is coming in in the next week, and I’ll be out there in two weeks,” Rueles said from his Dallas office. He added that the construction crew for the project also will be coming from the Dallas area.

“We tried to get someone from out there, but nobody was available in the time frame we needed,” he said.

Accessing businesses around the I-20/U.S. 285 interchange has been difficult for the past two months, due to the Texas Department of Transportation’s current