Chick-fil-A plans move forward at Iroquois Center

Chick-fil-A plans move forward at Iroquois Center
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Growing fast-food chain Chick-fil-A moved one step closer to opening its first eatery in Naperville following a recent favorable vote from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. The city council will review the plans at an upcoming meeting.

 The Atlanta-based company has submitted plans for the construction of a 5,025-square-foot restaurant on a frontage parcel within the Iroquois Center development at 1159 E. Ogden Ave. Chick-fil-A’s plans include a drive-thru and indoor dining facility.

 The company is proposing operating hours of 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. As is customary with Chick-fil-A’s standard operating practice, the Naperville store would be closed Sundays. Pending city approvals, the local restaurant could open in the first quarter of 2025.

‘A long time coming’ for Naperville 

 Jason Hill, director of development and construction with Chick-fil-A, said the company has viewed Naperville and a venue such as Iroquois Center as a logical fit as the chain continues to open new locations across the country.

Speaking at the Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting on Wednesday, March 20, Hill said, “It’s been a long time coming. The very first Chick-fil-A to open in the Chicago area was in fact the Fox Valley location (in Aurora), just across the street from Naperville.”

While the restaurant will be freestanding from the rest of Iroquois Center, the company’s plans include razing the southeastern portion of the development to accommodate incoming and outgoing traffic and parking accommodations. 

 “We’ve laid it out in a way that will accommodate vehicles to essentially make them go deeper into the shopping center before entering our site,” Hill said.

 Residents near Iroquois Center share traffic; other concerns

 Commissioners received verbal and written public comments from several residents who had reservations about Chick-fil-A and its compatibility with the surrounding area.

 “I think the best scenario for revitalizing this shopping center, while keeping the traffic impact down, would be to support mixed-use that would encourage common trips,” resident Marilyn Schweitzer said. “Restaurants can do that if there are complimentary businesses in the center, yet the traffic analysis claims that will not be the case with the addition of this Chick-fil-A, as common trips were said to be low.”

Ellen Thompson was one of several nearby residents who submitted written comments to commissioners about Chick-fil-A’s proposal and had concerns about increased traffic.

 “Having a Costco nearby is bad enough for one small neighborhood to endure, but to add a Chick-fil-A to the same area seems to be intended to make traffic even worse for us,” Thompson wrote. “Chick-fil-A is known to draw many cars, the drive-through lane often stretching out into the main roadway.”  

 PNZ Commissioners give supportive comments 

While there was recognition of a likely increase in traffic, commissioners said they favored Chick-fil-A’s proposal for Iroquois Center as they gave their favorable recommendation to the decision-making city council.

 “I’m excited that you guys are coming,” commissioner Derek McDaniel said. “It’s going to be a very nice addition, specifically to that area, given the fact that we’ve been trying to revitalize that corridor a bit.”

 Commissioner Mark Wright echoed similar sentiments but asked Chick-fil-A representatives to take the residents’ concerns into account.

 “I think the proposed site is a great location for a Chick-fil-A,” Wright said. “I just want to make sure that we are being conscious of the traffic, especially around Iroquois Avenue. I want to be mindful that we’re keeping an eye on that intersection. But I think it’s overall a great plan.” 

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