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There is a lot of speculation about what business or businesses will replace the former PNC Bank building at West Southside Drive and U.S. 51 in Decatur. A representative of the property's owner, CARMALA, said none of the rumors are true.

DECATUR — When it comes to rumors about which business will replace the PNC Bank at the highly visible intersection in South Shores, Carl Muench has heard them all. And none of them are true.

“There's been a lot of talk about it, but there really isn't anything to say yet,” said Muench, manager of CARMALA, the development company that owns the property.

Right now, the focus is on extending the huge storm drainage system at the corner of West Southside Drive and U.S. 51. and covering it,  Muench said. Doing so will make the site “more usable,” he said, creating about a third more ground upon which to develop.

“Everybody wants to throw out some big name fast food restaurants or something like that,” he said. “But until the land is ready to be developed, we really can't talk to people.”

Muench said he is taking notes about what people would like to see there, with plans to reach out to those businesses when the time comes.

“We will certainly talk to a lot of the places people are rumored to be talking about,” he said. “But once again, there's nobody that we're favoring. We just have to get the land developed first and go from there.”

Muench agrees the site is full of potential, anticipating it will include a mix of businesses among a couple buildings. The two-acre lot is zoned by the city as a B-2 commercial district, which allows for a host of business types.

A restaurant or two, a strip mall or a hotel aren't beyond reason, he said. “It could be whoever is interested, to be honest with you.”

PNC Bank closed its South Shores branch, 500 W. Southland Drive, in July 2018. A company spokesperson said at the time the proximity of other PNC branches and the move to online banking by its customers prompted the decision.

The CARMALA group bought the property from PNC for $815,000, according to real estate records. It also bought a neighboring home which has since been demolished, allowing for better access to the property once the tenants are selected and the site developed.

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The site of the former PNC Bank in South Shores could house a variety of new businesses, according to the developer. 

While the South Shores project is just beginning, two other projects by Muench and his team are hitting the homestretch.

LuLu's Pizza is expected to open at the start of the new year in the former Morrow Insurance Agency building at 201 S. Nelson Blvd., near the entrance to Nelson Park.

The second project is an expanded Speed Lube Complete Auto Care at 926 E. Eldorado St. It too is slated to open early next year, Muench said.

Muench said the continuing expansion of Overlook Adventure Park and the addition of the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater made the location perfect for the company's second LuLu's.

The first LuLu's, which includes video gaming and a bar in addition to its signature pizza, opened in South Shores in 2015. Muench said the new location, which will seat up to 30 guests, will be similar to the existing business.

After some initial zoning-related delays, work is progressing on the new auto repair facility. Muench said the new facility will enjoy much better visibility than the current shop, which has been operating in small building at the back corner of the property.

When construction is complete, Muench said customers will benefit from a “bigger, better, state-of-the-art facility.”

The repair shop has been open since 2006.


Decatur-area business openings and closings

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Contact Scott Perry at (217) 421-7976. Follow him on Twitter: @scottperry66

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