WARNER ROBINS – Through all of Commercial Circle’s ups and downs during the past two decades, Ken McCall has been there with his restaurant.
During lunchtime, McCall’s is packed with airmen munching on chicken salad and nurses partaking of club sandwiches. The room is small, but the food is filling. Those who work in the kitchen are engaged in nonstop hustle and bustle in a tiny space.
The Warner Robins Redevelopment Agency agreed in June to sell McCall the building located at 1005 Watson Boulevard, adjacent to his current location, for $18,000. The transaction required that McCall begin to make improvements within a year or the building would revert back to the agency.
For McCall, acquiring the new building allows him the opportunity to expand his kitchen and build the catering side of his business. He said he would like to provide takeout dinner from a daily revolving menu.
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McCall’s decision to expand is just one more indicator of efforts to revitalize the downtown area.
Earlier this year, Flamingo Follies, a novelty shop, moved to Commerical Circle, located about a mile from Robins Air Force Base off Watson Boulevard. Meldino’s, a Centerville-based pizzeria, also is considering adding a location to place a lunchtime restaurant closer to Robins Air Force Base.
McCall said the area still needs additional greenspace and parking before more businesses move in.
Councilman John Williams, who serves on the redevelopment agency board with rest of the City Council and the mayor, said additional parking in the area could be realized in a matter of months if the city is able to acquire a vacant building located next to Flamingo Follies. He said better parking would help attract businesses to an area many have avoided for years as the city has sprawled west and south.
“This is a convenient area to the base,” Williams said. “It’s an untapped resource that has drifted away.”
Williams went on to promise that Commercial Circle will look much different in a year.
In the meantime, McCall said he plans to work on his expansion and wait patiently for the promised changes.
“When I see the parking and the greenspace, that’s when I’ll get really excited,” Williams said.
To contact writer Natasha Smith, call 923-3109, extension 236.