AUGUSTA — The KFC fast-food chicken restaurant on Western Avenue closed Monday.

A KFC spokesperson confirmed Friday that the restaurant had closed. She said the franchisee who owns the restaurant decided to close it.

The other KFC in Augusta, which shares a building with Taco Bell at 300 Civic Center Drive and is accessed from Darin Drive, remains open.

“While this is always a difficult decision, we appreciate the patronage of our loyal guests and hope they will continue to visit our other area location,” a KFC spokesperson, Lori Eberenz, said in an email.

The sign at the 215 Western Ave. location states the restaurant, which included a buffet, is closed; and it directs customers to the KFC and Taco Bell location on Civic Center Drive. Paper signs on the doors also note it is closed and express thanks to its loyal customers.

On Friday morning, a pickup truck with an enclosed work trailer was parked at the Western Avenue location, and some lights were on inside the building. The drive-thru sign was partially disassembled.

City assessing records indicate the building, assessed at $504,600 for tax purposes, is owned by Thurston Family Limited Partnership, of New Gloucester. It was owned previously by Conifer Industries, also of New Gloucester.

Conifer Industries owns multiple KFCs in Maine, and is run by Fred Thurston and his family. Company officials could not be reached for comment Friday.

An unrelated news release posted on Yum! Brands Inc.’s website in 2016 indicated Fred Thurston has been a KFC franchisee for more than 40 years, and Conifer Industries operated 18 restaurants in New England.

The 2,500-square-foot building was built in 1969, the same year the restaurant opened.

Katie Doherty, president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, expressed confidence that a new business will fill the spot before long.

“It is sad to see them go, but exciting that, hopefully, there will be something new coming there,” she said. “Augusta seems to be booming right now.”

The KFC and Taco Bell off Darin Drive, according to city records, is not owned by the same entity as the Western Avenue KFC. It is owned by GGG Associates Limited Partnership and was built in 2005.

KFC, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and the concept for the chain was founded by Harland Sanders in 1952. The firm operates more than 17,000 restaurants in the United States and internationally. Its parent company, Yum! Brands Inc, also owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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