By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
While the developer of the retail area anchored by a Kohl’s department store in Hermitage is proceeding with plans to build a Buffalo Wild Wings, another restaurant that had been proposed for the site still hangs over the discussion.
Hermitage Planning Commission member James B. Tamber on Monday asked officials with LRC Hermitage PA LLC, a company controlled by Levey & Co. of Akron, whether the plan to build an Olive Garden on the site at South Hermitage Road and the Shenango Valley Freeway is dead.
“No, it’s not,” replied Kevin Woodman, Levey’s managing vice president for development.
City officials last year approved a land development plan for Olive Garden, but Olive Garden announced in January the deal was off, reportedly following a dispute over the lease payments Levey wanted.
No one has ever officially told the city the plan is dead and city officials continue to list it as a pending project.
Levey presented a land-development plan Monday for a 11,000-square-foot building that would house Buffalo Wild Wings, a grill and bar known for the slogan, “Wings. Beer. Sports.,” on the west side, and two retail shops on the east.
The building would be along the freeway, between the development’s traffic light and the former McDonald’s property. Levey will close on a purchase of the McDonald’s property this month, Woodman said.
A 238-seat Buffalo Wild Wings would be built this year, while the retail shops are slated for construction next year, Woodman said. No tenants are set for the retail shops.
“We expect, on a Sunday, when the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing – they have a lot of TVs – they will be busy on a Sunday,” Levey’s Stephen L. Franczak said of Buffalo Wild Wings.
David Parrish, director of business development for RDL Architects Inc., Chagrin Falls, Ohio, said the building will echo elements of the Kohl’s building to create “harmony and balance” in the development, while still prominently displaying the Buffalo Wild Wings logo of a black buffalo with white wings.
The bar and grill also will have “significant outdoor seating” at a patio on the west side of the building, Parrish said.
The commission recommended approval of the land-development plan and a related subdivision that would enlarge the lot from 1 to 2 acres.
Buffalo Wild Wings has 900 locations in 49 states and Canada, and plans to open a restaurant in Mexico this year.