Wednesday, November 27, 2019

[EXCLUSIVE] Chick-fil-A Planning Huge New Restaurant in Alpharetta

The operator of an Alpharetta Chick-fil-A restaurant is planning to demolish his current restaurant and build a new, bigger, more efficient location in its place. David Thornsberry, who has operated the freestanding Chick-fil-A on North Point Parkway since it opened on December 16, 1993, wants to replace the current 4,446 square foot restaurant with a new 7,855 square foot restaurant or about a 77 percent increase in floor space.  
Rendering of the planned replacement to the existing North Point Chick-fil-A 
The new restaurant is designed to improve both the customer experience and store efficiency.  (Thornsberry also owns the Chick-fil-A in the North Point Mall food court.)

The restaurant, at 6085 North Point Parkway, is situated on both a corner and a three sided lot, with atypical topography, making strict adherence to the existing Overlay District requirements "essentially impossible," according to documents submitted to the City.

"Because of the age of the restaurant and its success, it is essential to invest in this restaurant to improve the customer experience and the efficiency store operations."

"Through our discussions with staff on November 6, 2019, four of the originally requested variances are no longer necessary due to design changes made by Chick-fil-A in response to your comments. Furthermore, several of the remaining five variance requests ask for less relief than initially sought."

The existing Chick-fil-A on North Point Parkway
The five variances the restaurant is still seeking are:

Variance to the Site Design Standards of Section 2.10.3.B of the UDC (North Point Overlay) for a Type C Corridor (North Point Court) to increase the maximum building setback from  ten (10) to forty-two (42) feet.

Variance to the Site Design Standards of Section 2.10.3.B of the UDC (North Point Overlay) for a Type C Corridor (North Point Court) to allow a surface parking lot and driveway parallel to the roadway between a private building a public street.

Variance to the Site Design Standards of Section 2.10.3.B of the UDC (North Point Overlay) for a Type C Corridor (North Point Court) to reduce the minimum required width of a sidewalk from twelve (12) feet to eight (8) feet along limited portions of the sidewalk.

Variance to the Site Design Standards of Section 2.10.3.B of the UDC (North Point Overlay) for a Type C Corridor (North Point Court) to reduce the width of the required six-foot minimum planter.

Variance to the Site Design Standards of Section 3.2.8.D.1. of the UDC to reduce the required landscape strip along a "Main Street" (North Point Parkway) from twenty (20) feet to the varying widths shown on the Site Plans, with a minimum width of fifteen (15) feet along limited portions of the buffer.

Revised siteplan of the new Chick-fil-A on North Point Parkway 
The City Council will hear the variance requests on Monday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Alpharetta City Hall Council Chambers, 2 Park Plaza in Alpharetta.

The current restaurant provides 65 parking spaces, the new restaurant would gain one with 66 (63 standard, 3 ADA), according to planning documents.  The new restaurant would be rebuilt on the same 1.8 acre site that it currently occupies and would not expand onto the adjacent parcel where a former Ruby Tuesday restaurant sits idle.

Planning documents indicate that Thornsberry had originally planned to increase the restaurant size by only about 500 square feet, and its unclear what precipitated the significant increase in planned square footage of the new restaurant.  Sources close to Chick-fil-A indicate that the North Point location is one of the busiest locations in metro Atlanta and that the increase may, among other things, provide for increased production, more efficient drive-thru operations and designated mobile and third party pick-up.  

When contacted for comment, a Chick-fil-A, Inc. spokesperson told ToNeTo Atlanta "At this time, there is no news to share about the North Point Parkway Chick-fil-A location."

Typically, Chick-fil-A restaurants are between 4,500 and 5,000 square feet.  Truett's Luau, a Hawaiian themed Chick-fil-A restaurant in Fayetteville, opened in 2013 and was founder Truett Cathy's legacy restaurant, meant to be a "special restaurant with an environment focused on having fun and celebrating life with family and friends."  Truett's Luau measures 8,000 square feet, seemingly making it the largest Chick-fil-A owned restaurant in Georgia.  [When we asked a Chick-fil-A spokesperson where the largest Chick-fil-A in Georgia was, we were told "Chick-fil-A doesn't give out that information."]

The world's largest Chick-fil-A, a 12,000 square foot, five level restaurant, opened last year in New York's Financial District.  

News of Chick-fil-A's planned rebuild and expansion comes just days after ToNeTo Atlanta exclusively reported that Buffalo Wild Wings plans to relocate their existing North Point area restaurant closer to the mall, and to a slightly larger space.  

In early 2017, Chick-fil-A opened a new restaurant along Old Milton Parkway at Avalon in which is only 5,000 square feet.

Four miles away from the North Point restaurant, another Chick-fil-A restaurant is slated to be torn down with a new one built in its place.  Located at 604 Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell, the new restaurant will be almost 1,400 square feet bigger than the original.  The 4,990-square-foot project proposes to have 110 seats inside and roughly 28 seats outside, and 61 parking spaces.  "The new location will feature a larger kitchen, new dining room and a more efficient drive thru. The project should begin in early 2020 and will take around six months to complete" according to a spokesperson for Chick-fil-A, Inc.

The rebuilt Chick-fil-A on South Cobb Drive 
Over the past several years, Chick-fil-A has completed more than a dozen other "scrape & rebuild" restaurants around metro Atlanta.  The restaurants, most of which were originally built in the mid 80s to mid 90s, include those on North Druid Hills Road near Toco Hills, Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners, Stone Mountain Highway in Stone Mountain, and South Cobb Drive in Smyrna, among others. 

Are you excited for the planned expansion of the North Point Chick-fil-A?  Are you surprised to see the North Point Mall corridor continue to thrive even as malls nationwide are struggling? What is your favorite Chick-fil-A menu item?

Please share your thoughts below. 


Ham said...

I applaud them for this approach which I wish more businesses would adopt. Often times a company will simply close one spot and open a new restaurant/retail shop nearby. While this does provide the merchant a new facility it often leaves the community with an empty building.

Inside Peachtree Corners said...

To be fair, that Norcross Chickfila is in Peachtree Corners. It is quite nice, and I do like the new looks.

Anonymous said...

The asinine part of all this is that Chick-fil-a knows how to succeed when they're required to build to urban standards. Just look at the Chick-fil-a in five points in Birmingham. They fought and fought and fought against Birmingham's minimal urban design standards and when they lost they found a way to conform and their restaurant is still wildly successful. As much good as CFA does as a corporate entity, I still believe we should push them to go beyond the bare minimum they're willing to offer up front. They may have the best customer service of any fast food dynasty but they are no better than McDonald's when it comes to being good stewards of their neighborhoods' built environments.

Anonymous said...

They have begun demolition and I was relieved to learn that they are rebuilding. I had no idea in advance it was going to be rebuilt but looking at the plan it appears it will be built with the same design as the restaurant on hwy 9 and Holcomb Bridge. It's a fantastic design. I live very close to the North Point location so I will be anxiously awaiting the reopening.

Truthwars-MyLife said...

I have a residence in Woodland Park Colorado and a Chick-fil-A in our town would be a wonderful addition. I will guarantee it to be busy 24 seven. It would have plenty of labor from a nearby Christian college and would be welcomed by the town of roughly 8000 residents. Some entrepreneur could really do well opening a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Woodland Park Colorado.

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