Clintonville's various Facebook presences were abuzz over the weekend following the announcement of the abrupt closing of popular neighborhood watering hole Patrick J's -- and just as quickly, word that a developer would team with White Castle for its replacement.

Clintonville's various Facebook presences were abuzz over the weekend following the announcement of the abrupt closing of popular neighborhood watering hole Patrick J's -- and just as quickly, word that a developer would team with White Castle for its replacement.

"We are very sad to announce that after almost 30 years we will be closing our doors as of Feb. 1," according to a statement posted at 6:22 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, on the Patrick J's Facebook page. "We would love to see all of you wonderful people this weekend who have supported us throughout the years. We would also like to thank you all for your support and patronage. We will miss you more than you will ever know."

Patrick J's was opened in 1987 in a former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant by John Raphael, then a Columbus City Council aide, and his friend, Pat Norris. It was named for Norris' son and Raphael's godson, Patrick John Norris.

Raphael last year pleaded guilty to extortion in connection with the city's former red-light camera operator, Redflex Traffic Systems.

Raphael, 60, is scheduled to be sentenced March 30. He could face as many as 20 years in prison.

An official with the Franklin County Auditor's Office confirmed that on the same day the bar's closing was announced, the building and land at 2711 N. High St. were sold to BPGE Partners LLC for $600,000.

The auditor's office website lists the last transfer of the site as taking place Feb. 6, 1996. The price then was listed as $275,000.

The address for the limited-liability corporation on Stonehenge Parkway in Dublin is the same as for Borror Properties, a development firm with several large projects currently underway in the Short North area -- including an apartment building that will feature a new White Castle restaurant in its ground floor.

In an interview, Borror Properties President Lori Steiner confirmed that not only does the developer now own the Patrick J's site, but it's also working with White Castle regarding the restaurant at 2725 N. High St., which closed in 2010 and has been vacant since.

"We are very excited to partner once again with our friends at White Castle and at the same time expand our very active urban development pipeline north to another vibrant neighborhood in Columbus," Borror Properties Chief Executive Officer Doug Borror said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the neighborhood and both the University Area Commission and the Clintonville Area Commission as our plans progress."

The former Patrick J's and White Castle sites sit on opposite sides of the line that separates the Clintonville and Old North Columbus neighborhoods.

"We're thrilled that we just were able to assemble the two parcels," Steiner said, adding that it is "early days" in terms of any kind of specific announcement of plans.

"White Castle has had a presence in this neighborhood and on this corner since 1929," Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, said in the announcement. "The larger site offers us the opportunity to create a building that complements the neighborhood and is responsive to the needs of the community. We are excited to partner with Borror Properties to create a plan that will add value for our neighbors and friends in Clintonville."

Patrick J's made news in 2002 when a Columbus fire truck careened into the building after its brakes failed, injuring four firefighters and four people inside. The bar reopened about nine months later.

Although several Clintonville Area Commission members used to routinely retire to Patrick J's following monthly meetings, current Chairman Kristopher Keller said he had never actually been to the establishment.

He said he was aware that it had been very popular with many people in the neighborhood.

"I was, I guess, kind of surprised to see it (close), but I guess those following the story of Raphael and his problems weren't surprised."