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Local News

Panera Bread coming to Lockport Square

FILE - In this March 8, 2010, file photo, an employee passes an order to a customer at a Panera Bread store in Brookline, Mass.
FILE - In this March 8, 2010, file photo, an employee passes an order to a customer at a Panera Bread store in Brookline, Mass.

LOCKPORT – Lockport officials are considering development plans for new construction at the Lockport Square shopping center, which will include a Panera Bread.

Adam Firsel, a partner with Lockport Gateway LLC, presented the proposal for the 7,940-square-foot, two-tenant building at the development site located on the corner of Interstate 355 and 159th Street to the city council’s committee of the whole Wednesday night.

According to the proposal, the Panera Bread will include a drive-thru and an outdoor seating area.

The measure is expected to be approved as part of the city council’s consent agenda at its May 3 meeting.

Negotiations with an unnamed future tenant for the second store are ongoing and a lease probably will be in hand before breaking ground, Firsel told committee members.

Construction probably will start this summer and the restaurant is expected to be open by the start of the holiday season this fall, City Administrator Ben Benson said later.

In the next few years, Lockport residents can expect to see a lot of activity at the property, which has seen minimal development since 2008.

Earlier this year, the city council approved a tax rebate as incentive for the owners – Lockport Square, LLC and Janko Group – to be able to bring a Holiday Inn Express to the shopping center.

In January, representatives for the owners said a movie theater also was interested in building at the site, but also would want a tax rebate as incentive.

Benson said that the city is working with the owners and the movie theater and that a tax rebate proposal should come to the city council in the next couple of months, at which time the name of the theater will be announced.

As for the hotel, it also is expected to bring a preliminary plan and permit requests to the planning and zoning commission at about the same time, Benson said.

With development progressing at Lockport Square, the city has started the process to market the north side of 159th Street.

The city council Wednesday night approved annexation and zoning ordinances for two unincorporated properties on 159th Street – Rocco’s Pub and Body Magic Auto Body – which includes a residence at the front.

The vote for approval took place after public hearings for both properties at which no members of the public spoke.

City Attorney Tom Thanas said that, with annexation, the city will be able help repair the properties “for potential development as the 159th Street Commercial corridor continues with development. As you see with the Panera project, it’s clear that new businesses are coming.”

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