North Carolina bank shuts down Milton Travel Center

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Jim Dayton
Monday, August 7, 2017

MILTON—The North Carolina bank that has owned the Milton Travel Center since 2013 has closed the business.

“We looked at overall business operations there,” said Frank Smith, a spokesman for First Citizens Bank in Raleigh. “After looking at store traffic and overall business operations, we decided it was time to close down.”

The bank acquired the property four years ago through foreclosure. A third party operated the business, Smith said.

The Milton Travel Center included a Mobil gas station, convenience store and car wash. An additional space was leased to McDonald's.

In October 2016, the McDonald's closed its doors.

Before the restaurant shut down, a manager told The Gazette the Highway 26 bypass had “killed business.” The location was neglected by corporate officials and lacked up-to-date machinery, the manager said.

McDonald's never gave an official reason for closing the restaurant.

Amin Shaikh, who formerly owned the Milton Travel Center before the foreclosure in 2013, sued the state Department of Transportation in 2015, saying the new bypass reduced access to his business.

Highway 26 formerly cut through Milton and offered direct access to Arthur Drive, where the travel center was located. The bypass opened in 2013 and circumnavigates the city.

To reach the Milton Travel Center from the bypass, motorists had to exit Highway 26 at the Highway 59 interchange, travel west for about three-quarters of a mile then head south on Janesville Street for another half-mile.

In May 2017, Rock County Judge Michael Fitzpatrick dismissed Shaikh's lawsuit. The state Department of Transportation successfully argued the Milton Travel Center never had direct access to the old highway, only access to Arthur Drive.

Smith said he wasn't sure if the Milton Travel Center had lost money in the 10 months since the McDonald's closed. He did not comment further about the bank's reasoning, referring to it only as a “business decision.”

The gas tanks and canopy will soon be removed. The property will then be available for other uses, Smith said.

The property at 1262 Arthur Drive is listed for sale on the website for Lee and Associates Commercial Real Estate Services with an asking price is $339,000.

The listing says the buildings total 5,320 square feet on a 1.7-acre lot.

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