Whataburger opened its doors for business this week at Toomer's Corner

Auburn has a tenant again for one of the most visible and iconic locations in town as Whataburger opened its doors for business on Monday in the old AuburnBank building on Toomer's Corner.

Whataburger will operate 24/7 out of the location and is expected to employ upwards of 120 employees. Whataburger has also partnered with Auburn University to sponsor its athletic programs, and the Bank of Auburn building includes AU logos to reflect that partnership.

Tracy Felton and Kristie Floyd, who both work at VCOM, headed over from campus on Tuesday to check out Whataburger for the first time. The downtown Whataburger is expected to pick up a good amount of traffic from Auburn University students and faculty.

"It's very exciting, said Felton on Whataburger setting up shop right across from campus, adding that she'll probably patronize the business about once a week. 

Floyd echoed Felton's thoughts on Whataburger opening downtown. 

"After working for the school for six years, you kind of like to switch it up every now and then," she said. "It's nice to have another option for a different type of burger."

The historic building, located at 101 N. College St., was built during the early 1900s to house the Bank of Auburn and has been vacant since Pieology closed during the first year of the pandemic in 2020. The location has housed a number of popular businesses over the years, including a coffee shop in the '90s and the beloved bar, Bodega.

Drew Goodner, co-owner of the Bank of Auburn property, said he is excited to have Whataburger opening at the location while acknowledging that the chain might not be what many residents desired for the historic building.

"It's definitely a corporate tenant, not the small-town tenant that maybe a lot of people wanted," he said. "But obviously, it's expensive real estate and they're paying good rent and they've invested a lot in that building, and I'm excited to have them there. I think they're going to be there a long time and kind of serve that late-night crowd, and obviously a lot of families like to go there as well.

"It's definitely a core building there on the corner. That hasn't changed."

Build-out on a seating area upstairs is still ongoing, and Whataburger is still exploring cafe seating outside, according to Goodner. 

"They should have a good bit of seating, and hopefully they'll be running pretty smoothly here in the next couple of weeks once all the students get back," he said. "We talked to many different tenants, but I think this is the right one, and they're here to stay for a while."

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