Out with the old, in with the new: Two Colorado Springs restaurants to be razed, rebuilt

By Rich Laden Updated: May 20, 2017 at 7:31 am • Published: May 18, 2017 0
photo - Customers order food from the McDonald's at 324 E. Fillmore St. on Thursday May 18, 2017. This establishment is soon-to-closed. Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette.
Customers order food from the McDonald's at 324 E. Fillmore St. on Thursday May 18, 2017. This establishment is soon-to-closed. Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette.

Two aging Fillmore Street restaurants aren't just getting new looks; they're getting new buildings.

A 40-year-old McDonald's at 324 E. Fillmore, east of Nevada Avenue in central Colorado Springs, closed Thursday in preparation for the restaurant being torn down starting at the end of this month.

It will be rebuilt over the summer on the same site, and is expected to reopen in late August or the first week of September, said McDonald's franchisee Purvi Naik.

"This store's been here for a very long time," she said, "and McDonald's is moving to a more modernized look for our customers."

At the same time, Georgia-based Waffle House plans to raze its restaurant at 755 W. Fillmore, west of Interstate 25 and a few blocks from the McDonald's. A new Waffle House will be constructed on the site, according to plans submitted to the city's Land Use Review Division.

 

The chain periodically evaluates its 1,840 restaurants in 25 states to consider whether they need remodeling or a complete teardown and rebuild, said spokesman Pat Warner. The Waffle House on Fillmore opened in 1974.

"We want to have the best facility there, not only for our customers, but our associates who work there," he said.

Warner didn't have additional details on the Waffle House's razing and replacement, such as a timetable for the work. Plans submitted to the Land Use Review Division say the new building will be slightly larger than its existing 1,622 square feet.

Facelifts and teardowns have become common in Colorado Springs and elsewhere as fast-food restaurants compete with fast-casual and sit-down chains, and as they attempt to attract a wider audience - including millennials who want a nicer look and feel, retail and restaurant industry experts have said.

In the case of the McDonald's on Fillmore, the new restaurant will have a stone and red brick facade, a more squared-off exterior with a flat roof and a subtle arch over the front of the building - a similar look to local McDonald's owned by other franchisees.

Inside, the restaurant will be more customer friendly and family oriented, Naik said. New amenities will include sleek new seating areas, game tables and digital boards for kids and customer kiosks to go along with front counter ordering, Naik said. The restaurant will continue to have two drive-thru lanes, which will get new digital menu boards.

"Everything that is kind of the experience of the future for McDonald's, we will have at this restaurant," she said. "It will have state-of-the art equipment both in the lobby for our customers to enjoy and in the back for our employees to be able to work more efficiently."

Naik also is the franchisee for McDonald's locations at 207 N. Wahsatch Ave. in downtown Colorado Springs and at Powers Boulevard and Constitution Avenue on the city's east side. Those locations also will get updates, although not teardowns, she said.

The McDonald's on Fillmore will conduct a ceremony to lower its American flag May 30, and customers are invited to attend. Demolition of the building then will begin. A flag raising ceremony will take place when it reopens.

Most of the restaurant's 40 full-and part-time employees will work at Naik's other restaurants while the Fillmore location is closed. When it reopens, the restaurant will employ about 60; more people will be needed to handle additional places where customers will order food, she said.

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