A Panera Bread restaurant may be coming to Glenville.
Rumors have been swirling around the town for months that the retailer would locate in the new Target plaza on Route 50. Owner RD Management has been redeveloping the old Kmart site into a 135,000-square-foot Target, attached 36,000-square-foot building for smaller retail tenants and a 3,000-square-foot site for a restaurant.
An email sent to the town Public Works Department from Michael White, an engineer with the Ohio-based Design Engineers & Consulting Associates Inc., said he was working on the preliminary design of a new Panera Bakery and requested information about water, sewer and grease trap requirements for the town.
White referred all questions to Panera’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, who did not immediately return requests for comment.
Rick Birdoff, a principal with RD Management, also did not return a telephone message. However, Supervisor Chris Koetzle said Panera is interested in the site.
“I can confirm that RD Management is in talks with Panera and they have a tentative deal,” he said. “We’re obviously thrilled and excited to have them come into Glenville. We think it’s an important step forward to revitalizing our business center. We think this is something our residents have been waiting for a long time.”
The chain had 1,562 locations nationwide as of March, including sites on Balltown Road in Niskayuna, Maxwell Drive in Clifton Park and in the Crossgates Commons in Albany. It specializes in bread and pastries, cold and hot panini sandwiches, salads and a variety of coffee, tea and other beverages, according to its website.
Panera would make a nice addition to the town, according to Koetzle.
“It’s a good brand with quality products that fits the residents’ desire for a place to go and get some food and maybe meet somebody,” he said.
Panera almost came to Glenville five years ago. It was supposed to be the anchor for a 20,000-square-foot plaza to be constructed across from Price Chopper on Route 50 following the demolition of a vacant Dollar Store and a tile shop.
But Panera backed out of the plan after company officials said they had nearby locations in Niskayuna and Clifton Park that were underperforming. Also, town officials said the town’s population was older and the business needs more support from a younger demographic. That property remains undeveloped.
RD Management is seeking two variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals. One is to allow a drive-thru lane to be constructed 17 feet from the front property line and another that would eliminate the required trees at the site. Instead, there will be “ornamental grasses.” The zoning code requires a 25-foot landscaping buffer between the parking lot and the right-of-way.
Koetzle said the developer is concerned that planting trees would obscure the view of the business from Glenridge Road.
The ZBA will meet on July 30 at 7 p.m. at the Glenville Municipal Center. Koetzle did not see any issues that would prevent Panera Bread from coming to town.
“I think it’s another sign that Glenville continues to flourish and grow,” he said.