The most visible blighted corner in all of Payson has finally found a buyer.
Crews earlier this week started tearing down the old restaurant at the intersection of Highways 87 and 260 to make way for a Carl’s Jr. restaurant.
The building, which was once a Bob’s Big Boy and then a Chinese restaurant, has sat empty for the better part of the last decade.
On the Roundup’s Facebook page, 60 people expressed disappointment that the most prominent piece of real estate in town will host a fast food joint and not a sit-down family restaurant.
“Junk food junction! Way to go!” commented one reader.
“Just what Payson needs, another fast food joint. What’s next: Another dollar store or thrift store?” another person commented.
Many people had believed Panda Express was moving into the space.
“I think anything is better than an old abandoned building. Panda Express would have been better, but Carl’s is OK,” one person posted.
The beige, tile-roofed building caught the attention of a few business owners over the years, but most walked away saying the asking price was too high, said LaRon Garrett with the Town of Payson.
Area Boy Scouts cleaned up the easement around the property to maintain some curb appeal, but most saw the restaurant as a lost opportunity, taking up space on the most heavily trafficked corner in town.
Then six weeks ago, representatives with Carl’s Jr. came to the town with a plan to tear the building down.
The town issued a demolition permit and crews quickly went to work tearing apart the old building. Garrett said the town has not received design plans for the new space, but expects to receive them from Carl’s Jr. in the next week or so. The town will then determine if they meet all commercial building codes.
Garrett said they likely could have remodeled the building, but thanks to the 1970s construction probably saved money by tearing it down rather than bringing it up up to code. Construction should then take a few months.