Domino’s building still not done after over a year

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

LANETT — The new Domino’s Pizza building off Highway 29 in Lanett is months past its projected opening date. It was on schedule to open in February but since that time there has been a stop work order from the state, lawsuits and threats of legal action on the part of engineering firms and contractors working on the building.

“I have never seen anything with that many people involved go that wrong,” said Lanett Planning and Development Director Tony Chandler. “The building is only 1,800 square feet, but there have been three engineering firms, an architect and seven different contractors involved in building it.”

Everything looked to be fine with the new building until February. Only two weeks before they were scheduled to be finished with the building, the state issued a cease and desist order. The problem at that time was that some of the firms did not have proper licensing in Alabama. They’d been building new Domino’s buildings in Georgia where they were properly licensed but when they entered Alabama, some of the firms had applied for a license but had not been approved when they were working in the state. Others had the licensing but it expired in 2018.

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Another problem is that Domino’s wants all their buildings to be the same. A roof on a building in Alabama or Florida has to be identical to a roof on one of their buildings in Minnesota or Maine, where it snows a lot. The building going up in Lanett doesn’t have a snow-proof roof and will have to be modified before the new building can open.

“Our only dog in the fight is that we have a building that is safe for the public,” Chandler said. “Before work can resume we will have to have a stamped set of drawings from an engineer that’s properly licensed by the state of Alabama.”

Chandler said that he and City Building Inspector Teddy Morris have had numerous meetings in trying to get this straightened out.

“Domino’s is one of our oldest and best restaurants. We want them up and running,” Chandler said. “We’re hoping that when we get a set of stamped plans it can be completed in a month or so. Everything would have been fine had they stayed in Georgia, but when they crossed the state line to do a job they had to have the proper licensing in that state.”

Domino’s, said Chandler, wants every little detail done the same way.

“There’s some petty stuff like having the same kind of rock outside the store. It’s weird they want us to have the same kind of roof they have in places where it snows a lot. All we want is something that’s safe.”

Chandler said the structure is well built.

“The problem we have now is how to we add more beams to the roof without taking the whole thing off?” he said.

The electrical wiring is in and the plumbing work is finished. “We will need to connect the water and the sewer taps,” Chandler said. “Everything was fine. It was in code and we looked to be opening on schedule until we had the problem with the roof and all the legal problems started.”

There are some rumors going around that the reason the state issued the stop work order had to do with the building’s proximity to Highway 29. Chandler said that’s totally untrue. If anything, state officials like the setting because of its proximity for persons with disabilities.

A nearly finished building has been sitting idle for awhile, but Chandler is hopeful that the stalemate will soon be over.