BR.walkons.090416 BP6.JPG

Local residents fill the Walk-On's restaurant in Denham Springs for the LSU football game against Wisconsin on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.

Advocate photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA

The owners of Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar have purchased the Co-op Bookstore building and plan to move their headquarters there.

The more than 27,000-square-foot building at 3960 Burbank Drive was purchased by Walk-On’s Enterprises for $2.7 million in a deal that closed Thursday afternoon, said Robert Pettit III, of Waters & Pettit Commercial Real Estate, who represented the sellers.

The Prescott family, which has operated the bookstore for 84 years, announced earlier this month they planned to close the business. Plans are to shut the bookstore in the next 45 days, Pettit said.

“This is an institution we all grew up knowing and loving forever, that we hate to see go,” said Brandon Landry, who co-founded Walk-On’s. “But it gives us a really good opportunity for a corporate headquarters.”

The bookstore building is on the other end of the Southgate Village shopping center from the first Walk-On’s. Landry said the Co-op Bookstore moved into the center in early 2004, six months after Walk-On’s first opened.

Having the original restaurant “a good 8-iron shot” away from the corporate headquarters will be useful for potential franchisees and people interested in the Walk-On’s brand, he said. They can meet with various corporate officials, then eat a meal and see how Walk-On’s operates.

Walk-On’s has been leasing office space downtown for about 10 years. The company currently is occupying a 7,800-square-foot space at 232 Third St.

Landry said Walk-On’s wanted to have a headquarters it owned, instead of leasing space. And the downtown location wasn’t as important since the company sold its stake in the restaurants and bars Schlittz & Giggles, The Roux House and Happy’s Irish Pub.

Walk-On’s and its 27 employees don’t have an immediate need for all of the space in the Co-op Bookstore building. Plans are to put in features, such as a “showroom” that will show franchisees the different types of tables, booths and bar tops they can put in their Walk-On’s restaurant, an indoor beer garden with shuffleboard, a golf simulator and a full-sized basketball court, complete with bleachers.

“We want to make it cool and fun. We sell burgers and beer for a living,” Landry said. “We wanted to give the team an opportunity for a fun place to work.”

There’s also an opportunity to put these spaces to multiple uses, he said. The basketball court could double as a meeting space for “Walk-On’s University,” the company’s monthly training session for new managers. The beer garden could be leased out for special events, such as tailgate parties catered by Walk-On’s.

Landry estimates the company will spend about $500,000 finishing out the new offices. Plans are to move in by January-February.

Walk-On’s currently has 15 restaurants and is set to open locations in Broussard and Alexandria before the end of the year. A Prairieville restaurant at 14555 Airline Highway is scheduled to open in February or March. The company also will serve as the title sponsor for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, which will be held Dec. 27.

The chain is on track to open 18 locations in 2018, Landry said. “We’ve got over 100 franchise locations sold,” he said.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.