Fast-food chain expected to occupy former Rax space

Last updated: June 20. 2014 6:02PM - 4191 Views
By Jane Beathard jbeathard@civitasmedia.com

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London residents are about to Live Más.

A Taco Bell restaurant is slated to open on West High Street next year on a vacant lot once occupied by Rax.

Johanna Albertson, a corporate spokesperson for the California-based fast food chain, confirmed a 2,700-square-foot Taco Bell that features the company’s new, contemporary facade, will open in January or February 2015.

A sign on the property indicates a tax abatement is available.

Telephone inquiries from a Taco Bell representative came to the London Building & Zoning Office in recent weeks. However, no paperwork has been filed, clerk Angie Long said.

London City Council President Pat Closser said a Taco Bell will be good for downtown London.

“It will be an anchor point on West High. Hopefully, it will attract more businesses to the area and fill empty store fronts,” Closser said.

Albertson said the new store is a franchise. However, she could not confirm if the franchisee is William Wood, owner of the Taco Bell at 775 U.S. Route 42, near the Interstate 70 intersection.

The Rax restaurant was destroyed by fire during the early morning hours on Sept. 1, 2008. It took about an hour for units from nine area fire departments to bring the blaze under control. Adam Coudy, of Mount Sterling, was later sentenced in April 2010 to four years of prison on counts of arson and felony vandalism.

Prior to the fire, the property had been vacant for two years.

Fast-food entrepreneur Glen Bell built the first Taco Bell in Downey, California, in 1962 after owning and operating a series of other Tex-Mex restaurants.

Kermit Becky, a former Los Angeles police officer, bought the first Taco Bell franchise from Bell in 1964, and located it in Torrance, California.

The company grew, and by 1967, the 100th restaurant opened in Anaheim, California.

In 1970, Taco Bell went public with 325 restaurants. In 1978, PepsiCo purchased the company from Bell.

Taco Bell restaurants now number about 6,500 — mostly in the United States.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1616 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.

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