Plans Call For Village Plaza McDonald’s To Be Razed, Rebuilt

Architect Ken Makenzie describes the new McDonald’s restaurant for the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission.

A major renovation is planned for the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant in the Village Plaza on Easton Avenue.

Perhaps renovation is an understatement; plans call for the demolition of the current restaurant and the construction of a new building.

Professionals representing McDonald’s appeared before the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission on Feb. 6 to talk about the plans and get the commission to give a favorable recommendation for the project to the Planning Board. The Planning Board will eventually hear the company’s application for the work.

The commission has input on the project because the building can be seen from the Delaware & Raritan Canal tow path.

The new restaurant will emphasize drive-through business rather than eat-in, project engineer Keith Cahill told the commission. That will be done through the creation of two drive-through lanes and fewer seats inside the store, he said.

To make room for the two lanes, the new structure will be built about 70 feet east of the current structure, and about 25 feet closer to Easton Avenue, the commission was told.

Also, there will be no parking in front of the restaurant, so as to present a cleaner profile from the road, project architect Ken Mackenzie told the commission.

Mackenzie said new style McDonald’s restautrants typically take between 90 and 120 days to construct.

“It won’t be down long,” he said.

The reason for the demolition and rebuild is that the current 4,675-square-foot building is more than 30 years old, and McDonad’s emphasis has changed, he said.

“When McDonald’s put this building into place, their expectation was that the number of cars using it for drive-throughs was 55 percent or less and in today’s world it’s 65 percent or higher,” he said. “They’ve changed their overall layout to a younger, fresher look that caters to drive-through.”

The two ordering lane are designed to reduce the amount of time a customer has to wait from the time they enter the property to the time they receive their order, he said.

The two lanes “improves the efficiency” of the ordering process, he said.

The new style McDonald’s restaurants have “been in operation for 10-plus years,” Cahill said. “They’re not really new, but it is new to the northeast.”

Commission members voted to tell the Planning Board the project was acceptable, but did recommend that the board review pedestrian patterns around the building and auto traffic patterns as the site is entered.


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