What’s a God-fearing, quick-service chicken franchise that’s closed on Sundays and Atlanta’s most gloriously bottom-shelf strip club have in common?

Not much, but by all indications, they’ll soon be neighbors.

City of Atlanta Office of Building records indicate Chick-fil-A is moving plans forward for another intown franchise—two months after opening a controversial drive-thru location just four blocks away.

In preparation for the 777 Ponce de Leon Avenue project, the longtime home of Dugan’s restaurant and lounge has been razed next to the Hotel Clermont and its basement lounge, setting the stage for another franchise in the chicken-sandwich empire that neighborhood groups initially fought.

The former Dugan's location at 777 Ponce de Leon Avenue, as seen this month from the parking lot of Clermont Lounge. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Chick-fil-A has had the Dugan’s location in its crosshairs since at least 2016. (Dugan’s closed last year and relocated to Northlake). But building there hasn’t been without speed bumps.

A few years ago, the neighborhood in question, Poncey-Highland, created the Poncey-Highland Historic District as means of safeguarding about 260 irreplaceable buildings and establishing guidelines for new development that inevitably would come. Chick-fil-A’s initial plans for the Dugan’s site ran afoul (a fowl?) of the new rules in several ways.  

Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Current plans for the next Ponce Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A/Bowman

The new historic district, for starters, allows for only a “commercial block” to be built in the area in question. That means a building at least two stories tall with pedestrian-oriented retail or service on the ground floor, and topped by either office, residential, or hospitality uses. Chick-fil-A’s plans for a single-tenant building type—a “shopfront”—were no longer permitted. Ditto for the 41 proposed parking spaces on the site, which would exceed the max of 2.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of floor space.

Also, as neighborhood board leaders have told Urbanize Atlanta, Chick-fil-A’s plans for a sidewalk and amenity zone weren't up to snuff for what’s required in PHHD regulations that aim to enhance the pedestrian experience along Ponce.

Permitting records indicate Chick-fil-A’s plans for the second new Ponce location are still under review at the city level. A demolition permit for Dugan’s former two-story, stucco building was issued in December.

We’ve reached out to Chick-fil-A’s media department for information on the project’s construction timeline and design, if the plans have changed. We’ll update this story with any additional information that comes.

This much is clear: As with a standalone Chick-fil-A in the pipeline on Peachtree Road in Buckhead, the Poncey-Highland location would not include a drive-thru.


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• Poncey-Highland news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)