Chick-Fil-A is a good fit for Drexel Town Square

The proposed Chick-Fil-A restaurant to be built in Drexel Town Square (DTS) is a good fit for the mixed-use site, according to Jerry Franke, president of WISPARK LLC.

Chick-Fil-A (CFA) is interested in locating immediately north of the Meijer Store and just west of the Water Street Brewery, both under construction. Franke noted that in the early planning stages of the DTS project CFA was not in the southeastern Wisconsin marketplace. Those early planning discussions included the desire to not include any fast-food restaurants that are already in the area.

Since those early discussions, CFA has entered the marketplace and has made a competitive offer for the property. The restaurant has been well received in the Milwaukee area as well as many other areas of the country. Franke said he has visited CFAs in some of the “finest, modern mixed-use centers in the country, including Jordan Creek Town Center, an often-cited example of a successful mixed-use development in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The CFAs are successful components of these projects.”

The proposed parcel that CFA wants to purchase is not in the “town center” portion of the development but rather in the Perimeter Commercial District. The guidelines for that district do allow for drive-throughs with conditions, Franke said.

DTS is a “hybrid center” combining contemporary suburban development (eastern 40% of the site) and neo-urban town center development (western portion of the site).

The DTS site will include a number of restaurants. “In fact, in order to attract Water Street Brewery to DTS, we had to limit the types of restaurants adjacent to their site. CFA is acceptable under the terms of that agreement,” Franke said. “We will still have two commercial outlots that will be limited to sit-down restaurants as well as several restaurants in the Main Street Buildings being developed by Blair Williams / WiRED Development north of City Hall and the Town Square. We trust there will be a blend of restaurants in DTS that will meet a wide spectrum of the demand for eating establishments in Oak Creek and the surrounding area.”

Social media about the proposed CFA has been positive, Franke said. “Given the success of the CFAs that have opened in Greenfield and Brookfield (one is also announced for Pewaukee) consumers in the market have shown they want these types of establishments.” Social media posts in late January on the City of Oak Creek Government Facebook page seem to indicate strong interest in the project. The post about CFA at DTS was the third-most-liked post on the page in the past 18 months, Franke said.

“As the lead developer of DTS, we are very comfortable that CFA will be a positive part of the project and community,” Franke concluded.

Chick-Fil-Al history
The first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in suburban Atlanta in 1967. Since then, Chick-fil-A has steadily grown to become the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States, based on domestic annual sales with over 1,850 locations in 41 states and Washington, D.C. In 2013, annual sales were more than $5 billion. Chick-fil-A is privately held and family owned. With 46 consecutive years of positive sales growth, Chick-fil-A has set itself apart by pioneering innovations and delicious products—including the ever-popular Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich.

WISPARK LLC, the real estate development subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corporation is the master developer for this site. The property is owned by One West Drexel LLC, which is a public/private partnership of the City and the developer designed to oversee the development of the property. Other entities that are part of the development team include Zilber Property Group, ENVIRON Consulting, GRAEF Engineering, Rinka Chung Architects, KM Construction Management and MidAmerica Real Estate Group.