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No, The Varsity is not closing down for redevelopment purposes

11Alive verifies whether the rumors circulating on social media that Atlanta's beloved restaurant is closing are true or not.

ATLANTA — The rumors on social media are swirling this week regarding one of Atlanta's most iconic and beloved establishments.

A viral social media post on Facebook claims that The Varsity on North Avenue in Atlanta is shutting its doors due to the land being sold to a "foreign conglomerate" that will be building a multi-use facility.

11Alive looked into this claim by reaching out to the Atlanta-based fast food chain and can verify the veracity of these trending rumors.

THE QUESTION

Is The Varsity's historic location on North Avenue permanently closing down for business redevelopment purposes? 

The claim stems from this post that has more than 8,000 shares and nearly 3,000 comments.

I am SHOCKED and SADDENED!! This has been an Atlanta landmark since 1928. The Varsity is one of the first landmarks you...

Posted by Jim Waller on Thursday, August 25, 2022

SOURCES

- The Varsity
- The Atlanta Business Chronicle

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, The Varsity is not selling its famous restaurant on North Avenue in Atlanta. A spokesperson for the eatery confirmed that the land is still under the ownership of The Varsity family.

WHAT WE FOUND

The Varsity sits on a 4-acre property, much of which is used for surface parking around the restaurant. The Varsity approached real estate services from Cushman & Wakefield to offer up inquiries to developers about converting some of the property for other use, but retaining the restaurant where it's stood since 1928, according to an official statement.

According to 11Alive News partners at The Atlanta Business Chronicle, based on recent sales in the area, the land around the restaurant could sell for several million dollars. The newspaper said a developer acquired just under 1 acre at Spring and 17th streets for $19 million to develop apartments -- a record sale for the area. 

Just last year, The Varsity sold its land where the Athens restaurant sat at West Broad Street and Milledge Avenue near the University of Georgia for at least $16 million to Fuqua Development, the newspaper found, according to Athens-Clarke County property deeds. 

The restaurant said that it is considering ways to "reinvest and expand our core business to reach more customers." As a part of that business strategy, The Varsity retained Cushman & Wakefield to advise the ownership related to the broad real estate holdings they have in Atlanta and throughout Georgia as a whole.

"We are grateful for the ongoing support from our loyal customers, and we look forward to continuing to serve them on North Ave. for many years to come," the company said in a statement.

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