QUESTION: What is the status of KFC moving to the former Denny’s?
ANSWER: Travis Gutke, a commercial real estate broker in the Bay Area who handles site locations for KFC and other fast-food companies, said KFC has addressed local concerns in its new plans and is ready for Sonora Planning Commission review.
Paula Daneluk, a planner for the city, confirmed the revisions have been received and the staff is reviewing. The proposal will be on the agenda for the Planning Commission to consider in either September or October, she said.
KFC, now located at The Junction, sought a permit last fall to build on the site of the closed Denny’s Restaurant in the Timberhills Shopping Center. The company paid about $850,000 for the land, Gutke said, and plans to tear down the Denny’s.
But the plan bumped into the concerns of some residents who balked at what they called the cookie cutter design of the new restaurant and the increased traffic at an area that will soon see even more vehicles with the impending opening of the new Cancer Center across Mono Way.
Last September, the Planning Commission postponed issuing the permit until KFC made its design look more like other buildings in the shopping center.
Gutke’s company, Harman Management Corporation based in Los Altos, owns KFC franchises in California, Colorado, Utah and Washington.
He said the company leases the land at The Junction and prefers to own. Staying at The Junction would mean investing money in upgrades.
Among other concerns is the site has had some sewer problems, forcing the restaurant to close for a time.
“We didn’t want to put a lot of money into a property we don’t own,” he said.
They expect to spend $850,000 to $1 million on the new store. Gutke estimated it will be early 2019 before the company gets through the permitting process, and the building will take 90 days to build.
The city required a sloped roof, Spanish tile, and stacked rock as opposed to brick along the base of the building.
The colors are now earth-tone — rather than the splashy KFC white and vibrant red — and the roof is tile.