A California restaurant franchisee has paid $1.8 million to purchase a former Village Inn restaurant, northwest of Powers Boulevard and South Carefree Circle in Colorado Springs, El Paso County land records show. The Village Inn will be torn down and replaced with a new Krispy Kreme store, according to a proposal submitted to city government planners. RICH LADEN, THE GAZETTE

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has firmed up plans to return to Colorado Springs after a more than 15-year absence.

WKS Restaurant Group, a California-based franchisee for Krispy Kreme and five additional restaurant brands, paid $1.8 million last week for a shuttered Village Inn at 5790 S. Carefree Circle on the city's northeast side, El Paso County land records show. The site was purchased from local property owner Col-Terra Investments.

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The Village Inn, which sits on 1.2 acres, will be razed and a 3,547-square-foot Krispy Kreme constructed in its place, according to a proposal submitted in February to Colorado Springs city planners.

The new Krispy Kreme would have a dual-lane drive-thru, an unknown number of seats and three dozen parking spaces; construction would begin in August and finish in December, the proposal filed with the city shows.

Neither WKS Restaurant Group officials nor representatives of North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme could be reached for comment.

WKS operates Krispy Kreme locations in Lone Tree and Thornton, the company's website shows. WKS also is a franchisee for the El Pollo Loco chicken chain, Denny’s restaurants, Wendy’s hamburgers, Blaze Pizza and Corner Bakery Café, according to its website.

The new Krispy Kreme would be built near a Cavender's Western Outfitter store and a Jose Muldoon’s restaurant, northwest of South Carefree and Powers Boulevard.

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The location near Powers likely was a draw for WKS and Krispy Kreme. Over the last 30 years, Powers has become one of the city's top retail corridors and is home to restaurants, stores, big-box stores, groceries, movie theaters and hotels. Thousands of homes and apartments in several residential neighborhoods line Powers' east and west sides.

Mike Berger, a broker with Weichert Realtors Pikes Peak Group who marketed the Village Inn property on behalf of Col-Terra Investments, said the site along Powers has good visibility and should attract plenty of customers.

"Krispy Kreme has a national presence," Berger said. "It's an automatic draw. ... Their success, I would say, is akin to In-N-Out Burger. They have a following and they're in a perfect location for that. A super high-traffic area. It's one of the highest traffic intersections in the city. They've bought a primo location."

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Krispy Kreme had a relatively short stay once before in Colorado Springs.

A franchised Krispy Kreme location opened in May 2002 in a free-standing building that was constructed northeast of Platte Avenue and Chelton Road at The Citadel mall.

That location, however, closed less than four years later in January 2006; a handful of other Krispy Kreme stores in Colorado also closed at that time.

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