Hooters restaurant and bar is moving out of the Ahwatukee Foothills in favor of a new location in the West Valley.
The store closed its doors June 14 and was notifying the community about the decision to close the same day, said Director of Marketing Melanie Gulmetti.
"We just decided not to renew our lease," Gulmetti said.
The chain isn't currently seeking a new location in Ahwatukee, but is opening a new restaurant at 75th Avenue and Thomas Road on July 29, Gulmetti said.
"It's just a great opportunity for us," Gulmetti said. "A great opportunity, and we're excited about the neighborhood."
When asked whether the staff at the Ahwatukee store would move to the new location, Gulmetti said they are always accepting applications.
Gulmetti declined to go into detail on why the restaurant decided to move out of Ahwatukee, but said the split with the landlord was amicable.
When asked whether business was meeting expectations, Gulmetti said, "I would say, everyone is pretty much in that predicament based on the economy right now."
Landlord Randy Parlova of Abrams Realty and Management said he was sorry to see the restaurant go after almost 10 years.
"It was a big, big surprise for us," Parlova said. "We were not expecting it at all."
Parlova said the restaurant attracted a lot of patrons, but numbers weren't quite what Hooters wanted. They tried to negotiate with Parlova on the rent, but ultimately opted against renewing the lease.
The restaurant, which is known for its attractive staff, was controversial when it moved into Ahwatukee around 2001.
In mid-2000, the Ahwatukee Foothills Homeowners Alliance started a push to keep Hooters from getting a liquor license. At the time, the group said there were too many liquor licenses of the type Hooters wanted already in Ahwatukee.
Despite that early history, Gulmetti said the Ahwatukee Foothills was welcoming over the decade.
"It's been an amazing place to be," she said.
Parlova hopes to lease the location out to another restaurant with a sports bar-type atmosphere. A sports bar would fill a niche that would not directly compete with the types of stores already in the shopping center, he said.
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