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Guess what's coming (It rhymes with eye-pop)

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 7, 2009 1:46 PM

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The former Berkeley Veterinary Clinic site will likely be home to IHOP in the next six months. International House of Pancakes filed a site plan with Goldsboro planning officials late in December showing entrances from Berkeley Boulevard and from Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse parking lot.

There won't be a shortage of pancakes and french toast in Goldsboro soon.

Or possibly cornbread and beans for that matter.

The International House of Pancakes is coming to town -- followed closely by a still-in-the-planning-stages Cracker Barrel -- both planned along Berkeley Boulevard.

A representative of the company opening the Goldsboro International House of Pancakes (IHOP) said the company would like to see the restaurant open as soon as possible, likely within the next six months.

IHOP filed a site plan for approval with the city planning department late in December, showing a proposed 4,998-square-foot restaurant at the former Berkeley Veterinary Clinic site across from Arby's.

The site plan shows an entrance from Berkeley Boulevard and another entrance through Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse parking lot.

But there is one problem with the site that the company will need to look at, said Randy Guthrie, Goldsboro planning director. Part of the property is in a flood zone.

"But that's an easy fix. They will just have to build up the building a few feet," he said. "It's not a deal breaker."

He wasn't sure if the North Carolina Department of Transportation would allow for the entrance on Berkeley Boulevard since there is already so much traffic in that area.

Lowe's would also have to grant the restaurant company access to the other entrance, and Guthrie said he wasn't sure that would be successful either.

"That would be a deal breaker," he said, if the entrances couldn't be worked out.

Since the site is larger than an acre in size, the site plan would need to go before the Goldsboro Planning Commission and the City Council for approval in the upcoming months. Then, the plan would go to NCDOT for approval of the entrance off Berkeley Boulevard.

As for the restaurant known for its general store and home cooking, planning officials said there has been no more information as to whether a Cracker Barrel is progressing with plans to build a restaurant in Goldsboro.

City officials have heard from company representatives, but no formal plans have been turned into the planning department for approval.

The site that the company was looking at is the current Sears Auto Center property.

Goldsboro Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said that in talking with many representatives from restaurant companies, he found that Cracker Barrel normally looks for a site that is facing a four-lane road.

"Any time you see a Cracker Barrel, they make sure you can see the porch with the rocking chairs," he said.

The former Hardee's restaurant site on the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Cashwell Drive will see some changes, too.

Although it might look a little barer in upcoming months, there might be a restaurant filling the space in the near future.

Cianfarra said the land's owners have considered tearing the building down so they will be able to sell the property easier.

"I had two demolition contractors call me and ask if I had any special requirements of them to demolish the structure, if I knew of any underground tanks and that sort of thing," Cianfarra said.

The site is owned by Centrex Properties, and the company owners are former Goldsboro residents who are known as quiet, yet successful, developers who brought much of the commercial development on Spence Avenue to fruition, Cianfarra said.

So, he added, the company knows that it is easier for businesses -- especially restaurant chains -- to buy a piece of land without a structure on it and build exactly what is needed than to have to repurpose and renovate an existing structure.

Earlier in the year, a Zaxby's restaurant was proposed for the site beside Wendy's on Berkeley Boulevard. Planning officials said that progress on the site has slowed because the restaurant has encountered some problems.