Can Buford handle more bread?
St. Louis, Missouri-based Panera Bread plans to open a new, freestanding restaurant in an outparcel of Mall of Georgia Crossing near the intersection of Woodward Crossing Boulevard and Buford Drive. The new Panera Bread will replace a former MovieStop location. The existing roughly 6300 square foot building will be downsized to about 6000 square feet, with 66 parking spaces and a drive-thru.
Interestingly, an Atlanta Bread Co. and Honey Baked Ham both already exist as outparcels within the center. According to employees at each of the existing businesses, they were unaware of the Panera plans and indicated they have no immediate plans to close or relocate.
The aforementioned drive-thru is a relatively new feature for Panera Bread, which is known to be a fast casual restaurant. Traditionally, drive-thru windows are found in fast food establishments like Wendy's and Chick-fil-A. I know of at least one other similar setup in Kennesaw where a where Panera Bread opened a drive-thru unit on Barrett Parkway last year.
In recent months, Mall of Georgia has seen the addition of The Cheesecake Factory and Tin Lizzy's as well as Jimmy John's. Soon the mall will welcome Marlow's Tavern as well.
Mall of Georgia Crossing was developed as an extension of Mall of Georgia in 1999, and until recently was owned & managed by Simon Property Group. Mall of Georgia Crossing, Northlake Mall and about 96 other strip centers and malls were spun off by Simon into a new REIT known as "Washington Prime Group Inc." The spin-off transaction is scheduled to be completed by the end of the second quarter.