CBS Detroit - Chick-fil-A's unique brand and a menu of chicken, waffle fries, and their own signature sauces seem to be taking off with customers looking forward to new locations opening in the area. In metro Detroit, this has already been made apparent with their newest completed location in Novi seeing steady numbers of customers in the drive-thru since their opening.
This success has shown promise to expand the Chick-fil-A brand of chicken into Northville, Livonia, and a planned Canton Township location along Ford Road. In Northville, completion of a new location on Haggerty Road next to Kohls appears to be in the final stages of completion. The restaurant is even now in the process of hiring people to work in that location.
Now in Livonia, the popular fast-food chain is setting its sights on a location at Plymouth and Middlebelt roads. According to Hometown Life, Livonia's Planning Commission Tuesday meeting was taken up with a discussion of a proposal to build a new Chick-fil-a in an area that would revamp the Shoppes of Livonia which sits behind a vacant Walgreens. Ian Wilshaw is the Planning Commission Chairman, and according to Hometown life he said a common thing he hears is "When is Chick-fil-A going to come into the city?"
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The proposed development would seek to revamp the property. Putting the restaurant closer to Middlebelt, just north of the now-vacant Walgreens. It is reported the location would have the capacity to seat 124 people for indoor dining and have two drive-thru lanes, with the building occupying 5,000 square-feet according to Mark Taormina, Livonia's planning and economic development director.
The cause for concern though is the drive-thru traffic. In the Novi Rd location near Twelve Oaks Mall, dozens of vehicles can be seen waiting in line. A thing that planning Commissioner Peter Ventura had a pause for consideration. In the case of the Novi location, is a large parking lot part of the twelve Oaks Mall that can easily handle the overflow. When Ventura visited the Novi location just a week ago, he said he saw 70 to 80 vehicles waiting to order. He believes that number could be easily exceeded at a Livonia location, "I'm imagining that in the honeymoon period where we could see 200-300 cars trying to get on this site," he told Hometown life. "And I don't know where you put them."
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Ventura says a traffic study needs to be done with recommendations for road improvements to handle the heavy estimate of traffic the proposed location could make, which would also impact Wayne County and MDOT. The location isn't far from I-96.
According to Justin Lurk, the Development Director for Chic-fil-A, he's optimistic about the location. As the property is large and sits on seven acres of land. Plenty of space to queue vehicles until the initially expected surge of business would end. According to Lurk, "I think that's one advantage to this location."
Not only would this new Livonia location bring chicken and fresh business into Livonia, one-developer also says it would transform the property. The current strip mall that is there would be torn down, and according to Frank Jarbou, CEO of Symmetry Management of Orchard Lake, would entail a three-phase development. With the restaurant being completed by the summer of 2021, and a new out lot building completed within 18 months near Plymouth Road. A building Jarbou says could occupy one or multiple tenants.
According to Hometown Life, the project has received a unanimous vote of approval by the Planning Commission and now moves on to the Livonia City Council for final review and approval.
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