Lawsuit's outcome slowing restoration of downtown Macon Nu-Way

The Nu-way sign on Cotton Avenue.
The Nu-way sign on Cotton Avenue. wmarshall@macon.com

Soon after fire gutted the iconic Nu-Way restaurant in downtown Macon nearly a year ago, its owners acknowledged that the eatery wouldn't reopen in time for the its 100th anniversary late this month.

Now, it's unclear when the Cotton Avenue landmark will serve hotdogs again.

Macon-Bibb firefighters tried to save the iconic Nu-Way restaurant on Cotton Avenue. Owners Jim Cacavias and Spyros Dermatas explain what happened.

A black fence stands between the footprint of the former restaurant and the road.

Next door, the Gateway 75 LLC building has been vacant since the fire damaged it. The Spivey, Pope, Green & Greer law firm that once occupied the space relocated and is now is based in north Macon.

Nu-Way is waiting on the resolution of claims filed over the Gateway building before it rebuilds, said Jim Cacavias, Nu-Way's president.

After the fire and demolition, it became apparent that the buildings were built at the same time and shared a common wall and foundation, he said.

The fate of the Gateway building -- whether it will remain standing or be demolished -- will help determine exactly where the new Cotton Avenue Nu-Way can be built, Cacavias said. Nu-Way operates other locations across Macon and could open a new restaurant in Mercer Village in April.

"They need to decide what they're going to do before we can proceed," he said.

Seneca Insurance Co., Gateway's insurance provider, has incurred costs of more than $240,000 for building remediation, repairs and loss of rents, according to a lawsuit that the insurance company filed in Bibb County State Court last month.

The suit names TPI Corp. -- the Tennessee-based parent company of the manufacturer of a heater at the Nu-Way blamed for the fire -- as well as Macon's K&P Electrical Services Inc.

K&P, which does business as AAA Electrical Co., installed the heater, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the heater was defective and that K&P failed to install fuses, as recommended in the installation manual, to protect the heater from electrical faults.

Repeated attempts to reach lawyers representing TPI Corp. and K&P Electrical Services were unsuccessful.

Duke Groover, the attorney representing the owner of the Gateway building, said, "We're presently pursuing all available claims for our losses."

No one can occupy the vacant building, Groover said.

"It's structurally unsound," he said.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter