|By G. Michael Dobbs|
CHICOPEE The unanimous vote of the City Council's Zoning Committee is paving the way for a new addition to Memorial Drive: Chick-fil-A.
Representatives of the national chain of chicken restaurants came to ask for site changes concerning the drive-through window and signage.
According to Attorney Richard Sypek the company intends to build a 4,876 square-foot restaurant next to the Aldi's food market. The facility would have 134 indoor seats and 16 outdoor seats.
He said it would be the first free standing Chick-fil-A in the state. The only other location is in the Burlington Mall in Burlington.
Sypek told the committee members the company is now larger than Kentucky Fried Chicken and is the largest chicken restaurant in the country. The menu includes chicken sandwiches, wraps and salads.
He also said the company is very particular about selecting its franchise operators and it has a rate of 95 percent in retaining its operators.
The chain is also different as it is closed on Sunday, he added.
It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The restaurant has been in the planning stages with the city since January, Sypek noted. The constriction cost is estimated to be at $2 million with a 16-week schedule. Upon opening, the restaurant is expected to hire 60 to 70 full- and part-time employees.
When asked why the city was chosen, Scott Thingpen, director of the new store development, told Reminder Publications, "[It's] a great community."
He said the company would look at other locations in Massachusetts, although he was not sure how many restaurants would be planned for the state. He said the typically the chain opens between 85 and 95 new locations a year, which is what it intends for 2013.
Thingpen added that if the construction goes to plan the location should open early next year.
The recommendation of the committee to approve the zoning changes will be put to a vote at the next City Council meeting.
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