Panera Bread drive-through window approved

A drive-through window for Panera Bread at its Riverdale Commons locations has been approved by the Coon Rapids Planning Commission.

The commission approved a site plan for the addition to the multi-tenant building in which Panera Bread is located at 12465 Riverdale Blvd.

The site plan for the building approved in 1999 did not include a drive-through and Panera Bread, one of the original tenants, has requested one, according to Planner Scott Harlicker. The other two tenants in the building are a nail salon and a Cherry Berry yogurt restaurant.

The drive-through window will be on the east side of the building with the stacking lane wrapping round the southeast corner and along the south side of the building, Harlicker wrote in his report to the commission. Including the car at the window, there will be stacking space for six vehicles, he wrote.

The site plan also includes moving the outdoor seating area from the south side of the building to the west side near the entrance, Harlicker wrote.

“The drive-through and reconfigured seating will require the elimination of 12 parking spaces and change the direction of traffic flow on the west and south sides of the building,” he wrote.

According to Harlicker, a traffic study concluded that even at peak demand times for Panera, there is sufficient parking to meet the needs of all the tenants in the center.

The plan will include a small addition to the building of 10 by 30 feet to accommodate the delivery window, Harlicker wrote.

According to a letter to the commission seeking the site plan approval from Martha Gabriela, LLC, the building owner, the drive-through is requested to “keep the property competitive and vibrant” in the immediate Riverdale Commons retail trade area.

“Panera, an original 10-year pillar of Shoppes II Riverdale Commons development, is requesting a drive-through of the property ownership to stay in its current location,” the letter states.

“We would very much like to keep Panera for another 10 years, building on the successful landlord tenant relationship that has evolved over the past 10 years.”