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Hooters rumor a hoax, ERA Morrison coming downtown

AYER — While a rumor that Hooters was coming to the Ayer downtown yielded a flurry of angry phone calls to Town Hall last week, it has since come to light that the building in question will soon become home to Ayer’s ERA Morrison Realtor office.

The skimpy-outfits-and-wings rumors were sparked last week when two paper signs that read “Happy Holidays from all your friends at Hooters” were posted in the bay windows of the newly-renovated 21 Main Street, the former home of Academy Games.

One of the banners was posted directly above a large “opening soon” sign, a juxtaposition that led to a half-dozen complaints, said selectmen’s office administrative assistant Janet Lewis on Thursday morning.

“It was just concerned citizens,” said Lewis.

“We were advised that no such establishment was being considered for the downtown,” she said.

Lewis said she hadn’t inquired with building owner and landlord Calvin Moore on the matter, but instead attributed the confirmation to the town’s Community and Economic Development Office.

Later that day, Community and Economic Development office project manager Tim Hansen said he hadn’t inquired with Moore either. But he confirmed that ERA Morrison has filed paperwork for the downtown signage and facade improvement grant program, which he took as a clear indication of their intention.

“I’m pretty sure their intent is to rent it,” he said. “I’d be surprised if they weren’t in there.”

While Moore did not return a call seeking comment, ERA Morrison President Ron Morrison did. He confirmed a lease had been signed that will relocate the company’s Ayer office at 3 Park Street downtown shortly.

“We are definitely moving in,” he said. “It’s my understanding the building is almost done. My guess is we’ll be there by February.”

ERA Morrison, which has 14 offices in the North Central Massachusetts region, came to Ayer mid-way through last year.

While Morrison said the Park Street location was a fine one, he said the space was a little small. He termed the downtown location bigger and better.

“I like the spot very much, that’s why we took it,” he said. “We’re glad we were able to find a nice location in the downtown area … hopefully, we can bring a few new jobs and few new neighbors as well.”

As for the Hooters rumors, the scuttlebutt around Town Hall was that the banners and “opening soon” signs were put up by a construction worker finishing renovations.

Morrison confirmed he had heard something about it, but added he had no direct knowledge about who placed the signs there.

“Obviously, it was not us who put the signs up in the window,” he said.

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