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UCA to buy Donaghey Papa Johns

Posted: April 7, 2014 - 5:13pm
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The University of Central Arkansas has been in negotiations with Ozark Pizza Company, LLC, owners of the Papa John’s at Donaghey Avenue and Bruce Street.

The announcement of UCA’s Donaghey Corridor Project has left many wondering what will become of the Papa John’s that has called Donaghey and Bruce home for more than 20 years.

TJ Johnston, director of special university projects/community affairs, who is overseeing the Donaghey Corridor Project, said UCA would like to see Papa John’s as a tenant on the first floor of the mixed-use development.

“They are an extremely successful, flagship store within the corporate model,” Johnston said.

The Papa John’s franchise has been a step away from the UCA campus for 18 years under RLB Properties, LLC. Ozark Pizza Company, LLC of Tulsa, Okla. bought the location in 2012 with several other Central Arkansas Papa Johns locations.

Ozark Pizza Company owns and operates 46 stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Colorado.

Jim Brown, chairman of Ozark Pizza Company, said the Conway location near UCA is the most profitable store among all the company’s franchises.

According to Pulse of Conway, the Papa Johns at 242 Donaghey Ave. comes in at No. 26 among Conway’s most profitable restaurants in 2013 making $1,619,592 in annual sales.

“It’s a combination of Papa Johns being there for such a long time and students and pizza going together so well,” Brown says of the store’s success.

Brown said he is definitely interested in being part of the Donaghey Corridor Project, but his company is still in preliminary negations with the university and everything is contingent on the sale of the property.

Neither party disclosed a price for the property.

Right now, Johnston said, the parties are trying to work out the mechanics of how to build a new building without shutting down their business.

Conceptual site plans show a 67,500-SF building with student housing on the second through fourth floors anchored by 15,000 square feet of commercial retail and restaurant space on the first floor.

During construction Brown said he is considering opening another site at a “to be determined location in Conway,” operating on-campus in a school-owned facility and setting up temporary, mobile facilities near the construction site.

“We understand [UCA] plan[s] to buy our property and have us included as a tenant, and we couldn’t be more excited about that prospect,” Brown said.

Johnston said in a “best-case scenario,” UCA would break ground on the project at the end of December.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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justwantdanews 04/07/14 - 09:54 pm
UCA Student better get Ready

We understand UCA plans to buy our property and have us included as a tent , and we couldn’t be more excited about that prospect,” Brown said.
Is it hard to make pizzas in a tent? :-)

Dear Students,
Please prepare for a tuition and free increase.

Donaghey Corridor Project

justwantdanews 04/09/14 - 10:44 am

What was said above.

Stella3 04/08/14 - 08:17 pm

Perhaps PapaJohn's should move to that space between Hardee's & Taco Bueno. I still think a good takeout pizza joint would go over great there.


conwayville 04/08/14 - 09:00 pm

Location between Bueno and Hardee's is a decent location. Too expensive for the property. Ideally you'd want better accessibility than that particular location could provide. Actually many of the Dave Ward businesses have access problems if one were to consider the island's effect. Some places, you have to drive another 1/2 mile, make a U-turn, then go back. If you're in a long bed 4x4 pickup truck, making that U-turn is tight. If you're in a regular car, you take your life into your hands. Some of the businesses I've spoken with have stressed those exact accessibility issues. I try to stay away from the area, anywhere between I-40 and Wal-Mart. Especially during rush hours.

Papa John's current location is pretty close to ideal given the type of business and the type of clientele, IMO, OTHER than the fact that there is no parking to speak of.

Igor Rabinowitz
Igor Rabinowitz 04/09/14 - 12:46 pm
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