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Update: No Saving The Varsity Jr. | Business

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Update: No Saving The Varsity Jr.
Business

ATLANTA -- Varsity Jr. owner Gordon Muir told 11Alive's Jeff Hullinger, "There is no turning back, we will close August 22 at 10 p.m."

"We tried really hard," Muir added. "We've lost $100,000 trying to make it happen, $20,000 to have someone oversee our business license with the city." 

The 45-year landmark Atlanta restaurant has been at odds with the City of Atlanta over plans for a new building.

Talks broke off in April and have not been rescheduled.

Charletta Wilson-Jacks, Director of the Office of Housing for the City of Atlanta, told Hullinger: "We were suprised as well hearing the news about their intent to close as well. We are more than willing to work with them, to sit down, to review their proposal, to see how we can move toward resolution."

Gordon Muir is the son of Nancy Gordy Simms, the daughter of Frank Gordy, the founder of The Varsity.

He said," the only way the city got interested was seeing your story on Channel 11 last week," Muir said.

The city also has an ally in the zoning issue against The Varsity Jr..

Jane Rawlins is a neighborhood activist.

She and her family have lived off Cheshire Bridge Road near The Varsity Jr. for a decade.

"I like The Varsity," Rawlins said. "I don't like their plan (for a new building), and the plan is at issue."

Varsity Jr. owners have spent months fomulating a plan to build a new Varsity Jr. on the Lindbergh lot.

They wanted to demolish the old facility and move it back on the property. Included in the new design are a playground, a green space, bike racks and trees. The new building would also have a circular drive-thru window.

The city would not issue a permit for the new building. They wanted to offer one driveway for the new building as opposed to the three that currently serve The Varsity Jr.

Muir sent communication to the mayor's office trying to resolve the issue, but months after their last talks with the city, the family has decided to move its Varsity Jr. to Dawson County. They will take the same plans that were to be used in Atlanta and instead build across from The North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall.

"When we were told the city was going to oppose us on any variance we applied for -- we decided we have another piece of property in Dawsonville and they were welcoming us with open arms," Muir said.

Meanwhile, the city isn't giving up.

Wilson-Jacks said: "We are going to set up a meeting time. We want the business to remain."

"The city made a business decision and so did we," Muir countered.

Supporters of the Varsity Jr. have now started an online petition to try to save the restaurant. They hope to collect 2,000 signatures. As of Thursday evening, they had fewer than 200.

Business