Update: Panda Express Plans Continue, Could Open By End of 2012
This newest addition to Mount Pleasant is planned for where Johnson Bank is currently located. Architects and village staff presented conceptual plans to the Planning Commission on Wednesday.
Update, 5 pm, March 21: Architects for a proposed Panda Express and Mount Pleasant planning department staff presented conceptual site plans for a new restaurant to the Planning Commission Wednesday. While there are a variety of details that need to get worked out, Commission members encouraged both sides to keep talking to make the restaurant a reality.
The new restaurant is proposed for the site of the current Johnson Bank building in front of Hobby Lobby in the Racine Centre shopping area as the intersection of Highways 20 and 31. Because the building needs better stormwater run-off and traffic is expected to increase, the building may need to move several feet to the south to better meet setback requirements.
Ron Meyer, planning director for the village, said staff is working with the property owners at Racine Centre - a group to which Panda Express would then be part - to improve traffic flow for the shopping center by signalizing the intersection of Sycamore and Washington Avenue and closing some of the medians that allow left-turn access into the center.
"We view the Panda Express as an improvement to that corner even with the need for stormwater management," he told the Commission. "Lighting the intersection at Sycamore would improve safety and traffic management."
Chris Pope with HSB Architects, designers of the new building, said construction usually takes three months. Panda Express officials hope to have the new restaurant open by the end of 2012 with 15 employees.
"This is a really nice building," Trustee Jerry Garski told Pope. "Let's keeping working together to move this along."
Original Story: Ready to get your eat on, Mount Pleasant?
Another new restaurant has submitted plans for formal review and goes before the Planning Commission on Wednesday.
Should all go according to plan, Panda Express will be the next eatery in the village sometime later this year, taking the spot where the small Johnson Bank building currently stands.
According to the drawing submitted to the village, the design includes a lot of glass and clean lines with bamboo accents. At least one entrance might be covered and part of the drive-thru may be as well, using materials that blend in with the rest of the design.
Village staff are pleased with the new addition.
"We welcome Panda Express," said Ron Meyer, planning director. "They'll fit in nicely at that corner and provide another dining option for residents in the area."
Ralph Malicki, owner of Piggly Wiggly Washington Avenue, is also pleased with the proposed new addition.
"This is a great addition to the area," he said. "It takes a unoccupied out lot and gives it new life that can only add value to our corner."
A message to the real estate broker has not yet been returned.