Springfield McDonald’s could be closed 90 daysBy Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | February 21,2013SPRINGFIELD — McDonald’s USA wants to tear down the current restaurant in Springfield and build a new, smaller, more energy efficient one.
The construction project would mean Springfield area residents would be without a McDonald’s for three months this year, probably during the summer, said McDonald’s spokeswoman Nicole DiNoia, reached at the company’s regional offices in Boston.
DiNoia said the current restaurant, which was built more than 40 years ago, couldn’t be effectively renovated and thus the decision was made that it made more sense to tear down the existing restaurant and build again. The closest McDonald’s is in Claremont, N.H.
DiNoia said McDonald’s tailors its restaurants to the community demands, and she said it appeared the restaurant was doing more drive-thru business rather than a sit-down restaurant. She said the new restaurant would be modern in design.
The new restaurant, which will have two drive-up lanes, would be moved about 60 feet closer to River Street, said Springfield Zoning Administrator Bill Kearns.
The new relocation will effectively eliminate a popular cutoff or shortcut that residents have used to avoid traffic lights on River Street. Kearns said the road is on McDonald’s land, and “they’ve just been putting up with it all these years.”
He said the town had no control over the elimination of the shortcut from River Street to Chester Road.
Kearns said the Springfield Development Review Board met last week to review the plan, and he said the board gave its tentative approval. He said he is currently drawing up the permit.
“It will be a better building,” he said. He said there would be two different call boxes for orders and two delivery spots.
During the hearing, the company said that employees would be placed temporarily at other McDonald’s restaurants. The Springfield restaurant employs about 60 people.
The project also needs an Act 250 state land use permit, said April Hensel, District 2 environmental coordinator for the state in Springfield.
Hensel said the current restaurant had an Act 250 permit, and because the company wants to demolish the existing one, a new permit is required. She said the current application is incomplete, and until McDonald’s finishes its application it is too soon to say what the review process will be.
“The commission hasn’t decided yet how to handle it,” she said.
DiNoia said McDonald’s anticipates being closed for three months in the summer, and reopening in the early part of September.
Kearns said Springfield Realty sold the land under the restaurant two years ago to McDonald’s USA, about the same time as McDonald’s demolished an old house at the corner of its property at River and Chester Road.
For those worried about not being to get their morning coffee and other treats by drive-up window, Kearns said that Dunkin’ Donuts has plans to install a drive-up window in the shopping plaza that currently contains the Curves exercise studio.
He said that no formal application had been filed yet for the new Dunkin’ Donuts location in Springfield.
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