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McDonald's closes, demolition to begin

By By Adam Prestridge
After months of anticipation, the Atmore McDonald's has closed its doors, and demolition of the aging arches is scheduled for next week.
According to Perry James, a manager with Hafez Corporation, which owns the Atmore McDonald's along with several others in south Alabama, the fast food establishment served its last customer at 11 p.m. Sunday night.
Monday, James was at the Atmore location helping employees clean out the building to salvage as much equipment as possible.
"It is scheduled to re-open in late December," James said as he cleaned out the management office.
The McDonald's building, located at 1414 South Main Street in Atmore, would have been torn down a couple months earlier, but owner Ebrahim Maghsoud said officials ran into some issues with permits, which set demolition back a few months.
Maghsoud said he hopes the new, state-of-the-art location will be up and running before St. Nick makes his 2006 run, which he believes will be a huge present to the city of Atmore and the loyal clientele that frequents McDonald's.
"The building we're going to build here is the newest prototype McDonald's has," Maghsoud said. "hoping we can be open before Christmas."
Maghsoud said additions to the new location would include flat-screen televisions in the dining area, console video games, interactive games for all ages, up-scale bathrooms and upscale d/cor. There are no plans to rebuild a playground.
"We know children want to do something when they come to McDonald's, but feel we're limiting ourselves with a playground," Maghsoud said.
Since purchasing the Atmore McDonald's location, Maghsoud made several improvements including tearing down the dilapidated playground, offering customers various payment options, different hours of operation and several cosmetic improvements, including fresh coats of paint inside and out, parking lot improvements and some landscaping upgrades. Some may believe the improvements were a waste of money since plans were to demolish the building, but Maghsoud said it's "just good business."
Customers will also have the options of paying with a credit card or debit card at the new facility, which Maghsoud had already implemented prior to closing. Customers will also be able to purchase gift cards or surf the Internet with McDonald's wireless capabilities once reopened.
Maghsoud has been successful with McDonald's Corporation over the past 24 years and has compiled a stellar resume. He is owner of the Bay Minette, Loxley and Fairhope McDonald's, as well as two McDonald's restaurants in Mobile.