GREENFIELD — The city’s robust fast-food market might soon get a little more crowded.
A plan to put a new Taco Bell restaurant at the former site of Greenfield Auto Sales at 1017 W. Main St. goes before the city board of zoning appeals Thursday. The company is seeking setback variances and permission for a 20-foot pole sign.
“I think they thought there was just so many food dollars driving by from the west,” said Terry Day, who owned Greenfield Auto Sales.
Day said the company has agreed to purchase the half-acre parcel for $300,000 contingent on obtaining the approvals from the city.
“We’re pretty much there,” Day said of the deal Monday.
Day purchased the property about six years ago. It was a car wash then. He contructed a brick office and sales building that still remains on the property.
He opened the auto dealership in June 2008, “just about when the economy tanked,” he said. The business closed in October 2013, and the lot has been vacant since.
According to plans filed with the city, Taco Bell plans to build a 2,118-square-foot restaurant with drive-thru lanes. The site will be accessed from single entrances on Main and Harrison streets.
The company will use its updated “Step2Bold” design, which city planner Joanie Fitzwater said will enhance the architecture in the area and perhaps promote more business along that corridor.
“I think it will really help spur more market-driven economic development as well,” Fitzwater said.
Fast-food chains for years have flocked to the busy State Street corridor near Interstate 70. They have mostly avoided the west side of the city.
Though much of Taco Bell’s variance requests are routine, the pitch for a 20-foot sign pole will be problematic, as it runs contrary to the city’s sign ordinance. The rules only allow a sign height of 6 feet, Fitzwater said.
The company also plans to install significant landscaping and buffering on the site to reduce impact to adjoinging businesses and residents, plans show.
Neither a representative of Taco Bell or GPD Group, an Ohio design firm with offices in Indianapolis that is representing the food chain on the project, were immediately available for comment Monday.
The Irvine, California-based chain is owned by Yum! Brands, a PespsiCo spinoff company located in Louisville, Kentucky. KFC and Pizza Hut are the company’s two other major holdings.
Taco Bell was founded by Glen Bell, who opened the first restaurant in Downey, California, In 1962.
According to the company’s website, there are now more than 350 francise operations and nearly 6,000 restaurants. The chain already has an outlet at 1552 N. State St., 2.4 miles from the proposed new store.
Though Day is hopeful the company can get everything in order to close the deal, he regrets the land clearing that will occur to make room for the new restaurant.
“I hate that they’ll tear down that building I built,” he said. “But everything happens for a reason. I think it will be good.”