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AUSTIN EDITION Two new stores head for Austin

Arby's coming; new clothes store will replace Fashion Bug

By Roxana Orellana and Tim Ruzek

*ews@postbulletin.com

Northwest Austin's business area might have two national company names move in this summer.

The construction of an Arby's restaurant is scheduled for this spring.

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Results Through Motivation (RTM) Restaurant Group, the largest franchisee of the Arby's company, will bring its business to town with construction of a 3,500-square-foot building.

Senior Vice President of Development Devin Keil said the company is "dead set" on opening the restaurant in Austin. Construction would begin in April, with the opening in mid-July. The restaurant could mean 40 to 50 new jobs in town.

The building would be erected next to Blockbuster Video, fronting 18th Avenue Northwest. The project, which would be approximately a $1.5 million investment, is one of seven projects the company is doing in Minnesota.

Construction also will include a 40- to 45-space parking lot.

RTM is a privately held company based in Atlanta, with annual sales of $800 million. RTM manages approximately 800 of Arby's 3,300 restaurants. The company also has 200 other restaurants.

Austin is a good-sized market, and some of the competitors already established in town do pretty well, Keil said.

"We're very excited to serve the people of Austin, and we hope we get a great response. We hope the people give us a try," he added.

Bug to close

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Negotiations are in progress for another national company to open in Austin this summer, but Fashion Bug will have to close to make room for it.

The women's clothing store in northwest Austin will close April 24 after about five years in Austin, said April Gabrielson, co-manager at the store. It is located at 1610 17th St. N.W. in the shopping area by Target.

Heritage Property Investment Trust Inc., a real-estate investment company that owns the store's building, found another business willing to pay a higher rent, Gabrielson said.

The store's seven employees found out about the decision last week, she said.

"It was totally unexpected," she said.

Barry Rodenstein, vice president of leasing for Heritage Property, said negotiations are ongoing with a national company to open in the building, perhaps by July or August. He declined to give further details on the type of business that would move into the nearly 9,000-square-foot building.

Heritage Property owns about 110,000 square feet of property at the 14th Street and 18th Avenue Northwest location, according to the company's Web site. Its tenants include Hollywood Video, Staples, Quizno's Subs, Radio Shack and King Buffet.

Relocating the Fashion Bug store in Austin is being considered, said Jim Doyle, regional real estate manager for Charming Shoppes Inc., which owns the Fashion Bug brand.

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