SERVUS! project on hold; McAlister’s still in the worksMarch 4, 2019
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — The construction of a SERVUS! building that was planned to house the Jasper-based company’s headquarters, a McAlister’s Deli restaurant and high-end loft apartments on Jasper’s south side has been put on hold.
Company leadership said that SERVUS! still plans to bring the McAlister’s Deli, a fast-casual dining destination, to Jasper sometime in the next year or so even if the mixed-use building project does not move forward. Exactly when the restaurant will come to the city and where it will be are still up in the air.
According to Herald archives, the building project received the final green light from the Jasper Common Council in June 2018. SERVUS! CEO Jason Kelly said at that time that the project would be bid out and awarded in mid- to late August 2018, subject to how those bids come in.
The hope was that construction would begin in September 2018. Kelly predicted the cost of the first phase of the project to be about $6 million.
But in an email sent to The Herald in late January, Kelly wrote that those bids came back “roughly 35 percent higher than initial estimates.”
“The project is on hold,” Kelly wrote in another email sent on Friday. “We will likely not be rebidding in the Spring. To establish any specific timeframe would be premature at this time.”
The development is part of what has been called the Mercantile District. Kelly said that if the multi-use building project doesn’t pan out, his company still plans to bring the first McAlister’s Deli to Jasper, but it will likely be in the spring or summer of 2020 — and not in late 2019 as originally intended.
“We intend to bring a McAlister’s here whether the Mercantile project moves forward or not,” he wrote in a Sunday email. “It is also safe to say that the current labor market in Jasper is one of the primary reasons we haven’t placed this project higher on our priority list.”
Terry Seitz was Jasper’s mayor at the time of the official rezoning of the yet-to-be-constructed building’s property — a triangular swath of land on South Newton Street near Los Bravos and the Riverwalk — from general business to planned unit development. He spoke highly of the development.
“It’s going to change Jasper going south on Newton Street,” Seitz told The Herald in June. “That thoroughfare was built to connect to State Road 162 more than a dozen years ago, and I think the hope for and the plan was it would kind of build itself out. So, this is really that first step.”
Also in June, Kelly and Dave McGimpsey, an attorney with Bingham Greenebaum Doll of Jasper, discussed the possibility of constructing a second three-level building near the first one.
They said that second building could also feature a first-level office and retail space, as well as high-end residential living spaces on the second and third level.
Kelly explained at the time that the second phase of the project was only a proposal and its timing would be dependent on the success of the first building.
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