A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen originally expected to open at a new development on South Willow Street likely will be taking over the Pizza Hut spot across the street instead.

The building at 716 S. Willow St. sold last month for $1.5 million to a limited liability company tied to a Popeyes franchisee. The sale occurred Nov. 1, according to city assessors.

Popeyes, best known for its fried chicken, red beans and rice, and biscuits, operates 2,600 locations, according to its website. The chain enjoyed a new burst of popularity this summer when its new chicken sandwich drew crowds and regularly sold out. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut is reportedly closing hundreds of sit-down restaurants as it focuses on delivery and carry-out locations.

The 3,225-square-foot Pizza Hut building sold to 716 South Willow Dev LLC. It was previously owned by Martins Management Associates.

Amish Parikh, president and cofounder of Parikh Network, is listed as a manager, according to state records. The Pizza Hut, built in 2002, includes a drive-thru window.

Parikh Network out of New Jersey owns and operates more than 150 restaurants in 13 states, including Popeyes and Arby’s.

The Pizza Hut remains open on South Willow. A manager who declined to give her name said she was unaware of a pending closing.

Several phone calls and emails seeking comment from the Parikh Network on Tuesday afternoon were not returned.

The building sale comes as a Popeyes franchise was originally going to lease space at The Shoppes at 655 S. Willow St. The former Osram Sylvania plant was redeveloped as stores, a self-storage business and offices. The plaza includes a Firehouse Subs and will soon land the first Golden Corral restaurant in northern New England.

Popeyes opened as “Chicken on the Run” in a New Orleans suburbs in 1972, and the franchise started in 1976, according to its website. It has locations in Nashua and Salem.

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Friday, January 17, 2020