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Wilde Lake KFC Boarded Up

What do you think should go in its place?

The Wilde Lake has closed, and advocates for the struggling village center said they hoped for a "good solution" to a boarded up eyesore.

The KFC at 5400 Lynx Lane, which stands at the main entrance to the from Twin Rivers Road, closed and boarded up its windows Monday, village officials said. It had been in that location since at least the year 2000.

Tell us in comments: What should replace the KFC?

“The village center has enough challenges facing it and then having that boarded up building at the entrance is not a great thing to see,” said Carl McKinney, the Wilde Lake covenant advisor. “I’m just hoping for a good solution to this, a good conclusion. It don’t know what it’s going to be."

The KFC was owned by Kazi Family LLC, he said.

Kazi, a restaurant franchisee, has been in a bankruptcy dispute with its lender, GE Capital, according to the Restaurant Finance Monitor, a trade publication that reports on the restaurant industry.

The chain has also been closing locations across the country while it expands its reach abroad in places like China and India and faces increasing competition with other brands in the United States such as Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A.

McKinney said the property was auctioned off last month, but he said he was unsure of the new owner. Patch was unable to confirm the new owner Tuesday.

Kimco Realty has been in the midst of creating plans to , which it owns, with the exception of the lot under which the vacant KFC sits, McKinney said.

The redevelopment aims to convert Columbia’s oldest village center into an urban mix of retail and high-density housing.

During Columbia’s beginning’s, Wilde Lake was called Wilde Lake Village Green, and it was to be a hub of commerce and activity for residents in the city that burst onto the landscape in 1967.

Over time, shops began to close in an exodus that gained more steam after the village center’s anchor, Giant Food, shut its doors in 2006.

The latest closure of KFC caused concern among residents hoping for a better future for the center.

“The building sits in a very prominent space in the community and detracts greatly from the surroundings in its new state,” wrote Wilde Lake resident Matt Welborn in an email to Patch.

Kimco officials did not return phone calls by deadline regarding whether the company had interest in purchasing the location.

Christy Aspinwall April 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Rubio's Baja Grill or Tokyo Joe's!!
Kristin April 25, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Pita Pit!
michelle April 25, 2012 at 12:15 PM
It's definitely an eyesore. How about opening up a Sonic? The closest Sonic is in Baltimore. :D
JH April 25, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Creates a real ghetto look to the center. No more high density housing needed in the area. Too much density now.
MattW April 25, 2012 at 01:41 PM
While the situation is unfortunate at the moment I think it creates an opportunity for the property to be acquired by an owner that will enhance and maintain the site. The building has been in disrepair for a long time and that particular KFC location was known to have issues with sanitary conditions and poor service. Personally, I would be thrilled if Kimco purchased the property and included the site in their redevelopment plans. A Donna's Cafe would be my first choice for a tenant. With the adjacent swim center and tennis courts, I think a cafe/coffee shop could get some good foot traffic and the prominent location could capture drivers from Twin Rivers.
Danna Walker (Editor) April 25, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Wilde Lake deserves something nice in that spot.
Marcia Robusto April 25, 2012 at 01:57 PM
a gym!! Knock it down and build something totally new. Or a little sushi place would be great.
Kirsty April 25, 2012 at 02:15 PM
A cafe would be great - although it would compete with Bagel Bin.
BOH April 25, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I'd been hoping to give my parents a positive impression of Wilde Lake, but that seems unlikely, given the slum-like loitering, lack of grocery store, and now a boarded-up KFC. KFC is on my list of places I've avoided for well over a decade, along with McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc., but at least it provided residents in north and west Columbia (west of Rt. 29 and the mall) something other than McDonald's and Subway for fast food options. I do prefer to eat something better than fast food, but when time's at a minimum, unpacking the kids from the car and waiting around for food to prepare, even at Subway or a real deli, just sucks. Ideally there would be a drive-through restaurant where KFC is now. Out due to geography (closest stores in parentheses): In-N-Out Burger (closest so far is Texas), Culver's (Ohio), and White Castle (NJ/NY/PA), Whataburger (South only), Steak n' Shake (Fredericksburg, VA), Church's (Philly) Unlikely, but nice: Panera (scaling up drive-through ops), Bojangles (several in MD DC suburbs), Chipotle, de Chick'n Pollo (Hickory Ridge location closed?), Capriotti’s (eastern shore MD/DE) More realistic: Dairy Queen, Sonic, Roy Rogers, Popeye's, Chick-Fil-A, A&W Not bad: Checkers, Wendy's, Hardee's, Popeye's No better than KFC, boarded-up or not: McDonald's, Burger King, Long John Silver’s, Taco Bell, sub chains Obviously an independent or micro-chain would be best of all, but that's harder to project. Thoughts on these options?
Lisa Rossi (Editor) April 25, 2012 at 03:17 PM
This thread is making me very hungry......
Brook Hubbard April 25, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I second the vote for a Sonics, as these are enjoyable establishments (when kept up) with a nice drive-in style to them. I don't think a sushi place would be good, as Columbia already has a bunch ranging from good (but expensive) to garbage. Also, as much as I enjoy A&W it usually goes hand-in-hand with Long John Silvers, as combo restaurants are cheaper. If it has to be fast food (other than a Sonic's), then do something not as common in Columbia. We already have two Panera's, two Chipotles, and ~three~ Chick-Fil-As. I also don't think replacing it with another chicken joint is that great (like Bojangles or Popeyes). If not a Sonics, then go with a Wendy's (there's only one in north Columbia) or a Hardee's/Roy Rogers (we have none).
BOH April 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Marcia and Kirsty: I think something new in the village center would be great, but there's already space without knocking down and rebuilding on the location. My general distaste for fast food aside, I think this location would be best used for another restaurant of that variety. With all the development planned for the village center, you'd think a fast-food restaurant would get a real jump-start from construction crews and others involved, and by the time they're on their way out, the new residential spaces and new village center amenities would be in place. The wheels are apparently in motion for redevelopment, but I still haven't found definitive plans for what stores are in the works. I know there's not a standard grocery store in the works, so it appears David's remains the main food store, as it has since Produce Galore (*sniffle*) and Giant shuttered a few years ago. It appears there's a drug store, perhaps Rite Aid or CVS, in the works. I'd love to see a retail cooperative hardware store go in, but I'm not sure a True Value or Ace would fit. By the way, I did mention Panera earlier, but upon reflection, I'd hate that, as the Bagel Bin is a great little micro-chain that I think would die in Wilde Lake if Panera were there. But what if the Bagel Bin were to try its hand at a free-standing location with a drive-thru? Can't tell you how much I'd love to grab a coffee and bagel or muffin without getting out of the car or going to Starbucks!
BOH April 25, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Brook: A&W used to be commonly co-located with LJS, but that was when both were part of Yum! brands. I believe A&W has been spun off, and therefore wouldn't be co-located with LSJ.
MG42 April 25, 2012 at 04:08 PM
From reading this thread it's hard to believe that Howard County has an obesity problem.
Danna Walker (Editor) April 25, 2012 at 04:56 PM
It's interesting that KFC is seeing a new foreign market. I'm ashamed to say that I visited a McDonald's in Germany once, and it was packed!
stephen feldman April 25, 2012 at 05:05 PM
unfortuanately the WL center, once arguably the most vibrant columbia village, may not be needed as a village center at all. yes, a store like a walgreens to serve thepeople nearby or a convenience store like Highs, which used to be near Produce galore, would survive. But if columbia were being totally rebuilt today, with the center of retail east of Snowden River and Broken Land, and with extensive expansion of the mall that hadnt happened in the great yrs of WLVC, the time for a village center may be over. How many residents participate in community activities at the center. The "center" is out of the way, frankly of where people choose to shop and be entertained. Even if newer housing is built, it doesnt mean significant retail will thrive there, with the Mall, Harper Choice, Hickory Ridge, Rt 175 and Dorsey Hall nearby. Columbia is a motorized commuter town; the model of the sixties has to update. The market always wins out over utopian fantasies. The departure of Produce Galore, a sixties store, a great one, if there ever was one, was the real end of WLVC, more even than Giant. This is a blue and middle class residential community now; nothing wrong with that. Improve the housing for sure. The retail simply isnt going to thrive on a side street any more than Oakland Mills' troubled center. Times change.
Nicole McFarland April 25, 2012 at 05:35 PM
100% agree with this! I was racking my brain for an idea for this location, but what I really want is a coffee shop that is locally owned with outdoor seating and adequate indoor seating. Plus, there is already a Panera Bread at the Columbia Mall. I would love to see the Bagel Bin expand their business, and maybe provide outdoor seating for the spring/summer with a cozy comfortable indoor area for the winter, and it's close enough that I could hit it up on my way to work. That or a juice/smoothie place. Jamba Juice anyone?
Tom April 25, 2012 at 07:19 PM
A Sonic would not fit in that area... plus the location is just wrong. This would be the best location for a kick-butt coffee shop (Locally owned) to fit the theme of the other locally owned "David's" etc... Not to mention so many privately owned coffee shops fail in columbia because they are so hidden... This is right on a main road, and easy to get in and out of. NO STARBUCKS... If they could get something similar to "Bean Hallow" in Historic Elllicott City, it would have my biz..
Mark April 25, 2012 at 10:02 PM
We could use a Long John's/A&W! Can't put a Sonic there. Not enough property. We have too many Mexican places around now (Chipolte and Baja Fresh, etc.) Maybe they could get a chain we don't have around here like Steak & Shake!
bearmom32 April 25, 2012 at 11:08 PM
"How many residents participate in community activities at the center" - I think if you were to talk with the staff at Slayton House, you would find that there are activities there throughout the day and every evening! The Village Center community buildings are very busy throughout Columbia - try renting space for a meeting on most weeknights anywhere...very little open meeting space. The Villages are far from being on the way out. We need our residents to continue to support the stores in there Village Centers rather than driving to Snowden and Gateway, etc.
Derrick Jordan April 26, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Sonic would be the obvious choice. I would break my "no more fast food" for that chain to finally come here to Columbia. Last time I went to a Sonic, I was in Texas on a road trip to see friends. Something new and good for once. Tired of seeing Wilde Lake Village Center empty with signs of life only at a gas station. When is the last time they had an outdoor event at WLVC anyway? I used to work at Blockbuster ('99-'01) in Wilde Lake and there was always something going on.
Kirsty April 26, 2012 at 05:51 PM
As a user of Slayton House & Columbia Swim Center, it's sad that there's no good place to pick up dinner or grab a snack. I don't mean bad "fast food" - but when your only options in the evening are the Melting Pot or Pizza Boli's, we're clearly missing something. Where do tennis players using the Wilde Lake courts go to get a Gatorade or a snack after working out? Interesting to hear about Panera drive-thrus...Of course, the Panera at the mall couldn't close - it's usually packed!
jasper May 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM
I totally think there should be an in-n-out. That would be so great, the closest one is on another coast. I am NOT getting on a plane to get some in-n-out. Or maybe a five guys or a sonic? Because god knows we don't need another McDonalds. Although I personally wouldn't mind, it should be fast food. Or maybe a really cute cafe!
Columbia Independent May 18, 2013 at 08:08 PM
They're opening one in Ellicott City off 40, about 6 miles from there. Not that I wouldn't mind having one in Columbia as well.

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