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Council OKs Friendly’s drive-thru plan

Council OKs Friendly’s drive-thru plan

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – Visitors to the planned Apex Center will be able to snack on ice cream treats and food, as the City Council approved a special permit to bring a Friendly’s drive-thru restaurant to the development.

The new Friendly’s will be next to the Hyatt hotel at the 475,000-square-foot commercial development, which is under construction, and will be the third drive-thru restaurant at the Apex Center along with a Chick-Fil-A and a coffee shop.

Ryan Development, which is overseeing the center, was required to receive a special permit from the council because a zoning overlay district approved specifically for the Apex Center allows only two drive-thru restaurants by right, said City Councilor Joseph Delano.

The developers told city officials during meetings this fall that if a customer places a drive-thru order that is expected to take a long time, they will be asked to proceed to a parking space designated for pickup orders to wait for their food.

Because of the eatery’s location in the sprawling commercial complex, the developers said there will be no traffic effects from the drive-thru onto nearby Rte. 20.

Delano said the plans “seemed to please everybody.”

It is unclear when construction will begin or when Friendly’s will open.

In the past few years, Friendly’s closed its locations in Westborough and Sudbury. The Wilbraham-based company operates 380 restaurants in the Northeast, Mid-atlantic and Florida.

Construction crews began clearing trees at the site of the 475,000-square-foot Apex Center this summer and begun erecting some of the buildings in the past several weeks. The center is slated to feature two hotels, restaurants, office buildings and an indoor recreation and entertainment complex. Hyatt and Marriott have committee to build a hotel at the site, while 110 Grille, Evviva Cucina will open restaurants at the center.

The developers have characterized the project as a tremendous draw for the city, its residents and visitors. The land will bring the city upwards of $1.3 million in tax revenue. The city receives about $45,000 in tax revenue from the land currently.

The Apex Center is slated to open in September 2017.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.