The historic Krispy Kreme location in Midtown Atlanta is set to be demolished and rebuilt following two devastating fires that happened within months of each other.
The doughnut franchise’s highly visible location on Ponce de Leon Avenue, famously owned by basketball legend and entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal, was open 24 hours a day and frequently had a line of cars wrapped around the building from the drive-thru window. Permits have been filed for the building to be demolished, online records show.
The Krispy Kreme location has been closed since Feb. 10, when it was gutted by suspected arson, leaving the back of the building a charred shell and melting much of the interior. Five months later, a second fire set back redevelopment efforts.
The store’s owners have applied for permits to demolish what remains of the structure and plan to rebuild the location with an eye toward preserving some of its historic charm, according to a statement from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. The plans include salvaging some original elements, including its large, distinctive sign.
“As we and Shaquille have said since after the first fire, our plan is to rebuild as soon as possible … and be back better and sweeter than ever,” the company said in its statement. “We know how much the local community loves the shop and that love is absolutely mutual. We pledge to keep the community informed as we embark on the path to turning back on our legendary glazer and Hot Light at Ponce and return to sharing awesome doughnuts and lots of joy there.”
Atlanta fire Sgt. Cortez Stafford said the property was secured when the second fire broke out the afternoon of July 7. There had been no efforts made to clean up or rebuild at that point, and all power and utilities were cut off, he said.
“It was just like we left it right after the first fire,” Stafford said Wednesday.
Videos shared by the fire department showed smoke and flames shooting through the attic above the drive-thru window during the second fire. Crews worked from the outside of the building out of fear of collapse, Stafford said.
The cause of the second fire remains under investigation. While investigators have not uncovered evidence of arson in the second case, Stafford said it is suspicious.
“There’s really no particular reason how or why that fire would have accidentally started,” he said.
Authorities released grainy surveillance photos of the arson suspect in February’s fire, but investigators have not announced any arrests in the case. No one was reported injured in either fire.
The location opened in 1965 and was overhauled in a 2003 renovation. O’Neal purchased the franchise location in 2016.
— Staff writer Chelsea Prince contributed to this article.