Panera Bread project moving forward; Chick-fil-A opening near

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
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These buildings were severely damaged by the June 13 tornado and have been demolished. The property owner/developer, Urban Edge Properties of New Jersey, plans to rebuild on the site, including a separate building that will house Panera Bread. Times Leader File These buildings were severely damaged by the June 13 tornado and have been demolished. The property owner/developer, Urban Edge Properties of New Jersey, plans to rebuild on the site, including a separate building that will house Panera Bread. - Times Leader File

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Ground breaking could happen soon at the Wilkes-Barre Township Commons, where a new Panera Bread will be built.

Thomas Zedolik, township zoning and code enforcement officer, said Wednesday drawings for the rebuilding project have been submitted and only a few more items need to be satisfied before a permit can be issued.

“Once everything is approved, we will issue the permit and construction can start,” Zedolik said. “We expect the project to begin soon.”

Zedolik said a lot of people are patiently waiting for Panera Bread to return to the plaza located off of Mundy Street. Panera Bread was a popular dining spot for shoppers.

The Wilkes-Barre Township Commons was hit hard by the June 2018 tornado — many of the buildings were condemned and have been demolished. The new plan to rebuild the plaza has been submitted and approved, but a few more approvals are needed, Zedolik said.

Zedolik said Urban Edge Properties of New Jersey wants to build a free-standing building to house Panera Bread, including a drive-thru, on the land and also a strip of retail spaces.

“They want to get Panera Bread open as soon as they can,” Zedolik said. “A lot of people really miss Panera Bread.”

Attempts to reach Urban Edge Properties for comment went unanswered Wednesday.

Chick-fil-A

Zedolik said Chick-fil-A is looking to open within a month. He said the building remodeling is nearing completion and the parking lot will be paved soon.

Zedolik said the building at 110 Schechter Drive will be transformed into a full-service Chick-fil-A restaurant that is expected to open by mid-October.

The former site of Lucky’s Sporthouse, the building has been gutted and repurposed. Zedolik said the new Chick-fil-A will feature drive-thru service.

Burger King/Turkey Hill

Zedolik said the land development plan for a new Burger King at Route 309 and Blackman Street has been approved. He said construction could begin soon on that project.

Construction of the new Turkey Hill across Blackman Street is not expected to commence until spring 2020, he said.

Zedolik said several existing buildings on Route 309 and Blackman Street, which once housed a repair garage, a bar and other businesses — along with three private homes — were purchased by Turkey Hill’s new parent company, United Kingdom-based E.G. Group. He said everything will be demolished and a new Turkey Hill will be built.

In April, Cindy Rantanen, vice president of brands and public relations for E.G. America, said the company has the property under contract. She said five properties were purchased from four different owners and the site measures three acres. Rantanen said the plan is to begin construction in spring 2020 and the new Turkey Hill will include a full convenience store, a fast food restaurant with a brand partner still to be named, a car wash and fuel stations.

Residence Inn

Zedolik said a height variance has been approved for the new Residence Inn that will be built near the Mohegan Sun Arena on Highland Park Boulevard — a four-story, 110-room hotel that will face Interstate 81. Zedolik said the property is owned by Singh Realty.

While the township zoning allows a three-story height variance, Singh Realty applied for a four-story height variance and it was approved, Zedolik said.

https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/web1_Panera-Bread-logo-1.jpg

These buildings were severely damaged by the June 13 tornado and have been demolished. The property owner/developer, Urban Edge Properties of New Jersey, plans to rebuild on the site, including a separate building that will house Panera Bread.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/web1_PA-Gov-tornado-tour-5CMYK-1.jpgThese buildings were severely damaged by the June 13 tornado and have been demolished. The property owner/developer, Urban Edge Properties of New Jersey, plans to rebuild on the site, including a separate building that will house Panera Bread. Times Leader File

By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.