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(12:30 PM) New Restaurant Coming To Former Jamestown Friendly’s Location

P-J file photo

A new restaurant will be setting up shop in the former Friendly’s location in Jamestown.

News of the planned eatery was announced at a meeting Tuesday of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.

Mark Geise, CEO of the county IDA, confirmed that an application for a $55,000 loan through the Chautauqua Revolving Loan Fund had been submitted. The fund is eligible for businesses for real estate, machinery, equipment and working capital, and must be used to create and retain jobs.

The IDA approved the loan to a local developer at its meeting Tuesday.

“It was a good restaurant at a great location,” Geise said of Friendly’s. “The only reason it left was because it was part of a franchise that made the decision to close a bunch of locations. I think it’s great that (the developer) is coming in. He’s already done some great things elsewhere.”

The developer, who plans to lease the property for the restaurant, said he will make an official announcement as early as Monday. The business will not be a franchise chain.

Friendly’s closed its 10 S. Main St. location in Brooklyn Square without warning in early April. A sign taped to the door stated, “We apologize for disappointing you on this visit, but this location is now closed for business. We regret that we do not have another Friendly’s restaurant near you, but we hope that you will visit one of our other locations when traveling.”

Friendly’s opened its Jamestown location in 1985 in a location that once housed the Sambo’s, No Place Like Sam’s and Season’s restaurants. At the time, the city Development Department sent out solicitation letters to roughly 100 chain restaurants including Red Lobster, Friday’s and Friendly’s.

The property underwent a renovation in 1993 and another facelift in 2015. The 2015 remodel came shortly after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding that saw Friendly’s close 63 of its 500 restaurants. According to news reports, the chain has further consolidated to about 200 stores in 2018.

In all, 23 Friendly’s locations in five states closed, including stores in Amherst, Binghamton, Blasdell, Endicott, Greece, Oneonta, Oswego, two in Rochester and one in Syracuse. Restaurants also closed in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.