It won’t be long before food fans have another Panera Bread restaurant in Columbus in which to chow down on soup, sandwiches, salads and pastry desserts.
Construction is now beginning on a 4,494-square-foot Panera Bread at 3200 Macon Road in the Midtown area of the city. That location is in front of the former Kmart discount store that is now being redeveloped at Midtown Shopping Center.
A city building permit dated June 4 shows $1.1 million is being spent on construction of the eatery, which will be across from Cross Country Plaza. Conboy & Mannion Contracting is listed as the company doing the work.
Panera Bread is landing in a high-traffic area of Columbus, with just under 35,000 vehicles passing directly in front of its future location each day, according to a Georgia Department of Transportation traffic count. Nearby, on the east side of the Interstate 185 interchange, nearly 42,000 vehicles use the Macon Road corridor daily.
This will be the second Panera Bread outlet in the city, the other located at 6301 Whitesville Road in the Bradley Park commercial area. This also will be the second time that a north Columbus eatery has ventured south to Macon Road, with Chipotle Mexican Grill opening 18 months ago at Cross Country Plaza. Its first location is at Columbus Park Crossing.
Panera touts the fact that its menu carries poultry and pork items without antibiotics, while it also avoids artificial additives to include flavorings, sweeteners, preservatives and colorings.
The company has nearly 2,100 bakery-cafes in the U.S. and Canada under the names Panera, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Cafe. Panera was acquired last year by Luxembourg-based JAB Holdings, which owns Caribou Coffee and Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
In early May, Panera announced that it was expanding its home and office delivery service, with orders being taken online and through a digital app and kiosks. It said delivery generally is available within an 8-minute drive of participating eateries, typically between the hours of 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., with a $3 delivery charge in most markets. The Whitesville Road store does deliveries, according to the Panera website.
Atlanta-based Retail Leasing Advisors is helping Columbus businessman Richard Waddell redevelop Midtown Shopping Center. Thus far, the western portion of the shopping center has added Bealls Outlet, Ross Dress for Less, Shoe Carnival and Dollar Tree. The old Kmart store, which closed in March 2017, encompasses more than 110,000 square feet of space.