Chick-fil-A to replace north Fayetteville restaurant

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

A Chick-fil-A restaurant in north Fayetteville will soon be demolished and replaced with a new building that doesn’t include a dining room.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 8-0 to approve a request from Chick-fil-A to vacate a portion of an existing water and sewer easement on the site at 4180 N. College Avenue across from the Northwest Arkansas Mall.

Jonathan Curth, the city’s development services director, told the council the company plans to completely redevelop the site to address a traffic issue.

“They’ve recognized that they have significant traffic circulation issues,” Curth said. “Which is to say they have way too much backup from their drive-thu and it’s causing negative impacts on getting around the property.”

The restaurant sits at the northwest corner of the Northwest Village Shopping Center, which is home to Barnes & Noble, Petco, Natural Grocers and other businesses, including Discount Bins which recently took over the former Toys R Us space.

The new 2,945-square-foot drive-through-only restaurant would include a two-lane drive-thru with room for 29 vehicles, according to a request letter to the city from Bryan Burger with Burger Engineering of Dallas, Tex. The current drive-thru includes room for 18 vehicles.

Abandoning the easement would allow Chick-fil-A to install an outdoor canopy for employees to stand under when taking and delivering orders, Burger said.

Site plan for Chick-fil-A redevelopment / Burger Engineering

South Fayetteville Chick-fil-A

Councilmember Mike Wiederkehr said he hopes Chick-fil-A will also address traffic issues at its south Fayetteville location where a busy drive-thru line often spills off the property onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Curth said traffic problems are common at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country.

“If you follow national news, this is not a purely local issue,” said Curth. “And yes, they are evaluating their locations nationwide, including the one on MLK.”

A Chick-fil-A restaurant in Santa Barbara, Calif. this week avoided a forced closure of its drive-thru from the city after successfully negotiating a plan to solve traffic problems, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. The company agreed to reconfigure lanes and parking spaces, and to add a designated traffic attendant and other staff during peak hours.

Other Chick-fil-A restaurants that are currently closed for drive-thru remodels or that have recently completed renovations include locations in Athens, Ga., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Jacksonville, Fla.