ROCHESTER HILLS — A vacant Dunkin’ Donuts will be transformed into a Tim Hortons restaurant soon.
The new 1,334-square-foot-restaurant will include a drive-thru facility at its half-acre location at 940 Rochester Road, just north of Avon Road.
“It is a redevelopment project in a vacant building,” said Tim Hortons owner Mark Kellenberger. “We are very excited at this opportunity. It will feature a small dining room, but we are focusing on the drive-thru. The dining room will have nine seats.”
Rochester City Council member Ravi Yalamanchi said he was surprised the site could accommodate a drive-thru operation. “I didn’t think there was room,” he said, asking if left turns from the restaurant on to Rochester Road could be prohibited.
“We are not requesting them to eliminate any left-turn movement,” Rochester Hills Planning and Economic Development Director Ed Anzek said. “Traffic engineers looked at it and determined it would have the same amount of traffic as with the previous occupant.”
City Council member James Rosen said he had been inside several other Tim Hortons restaurants and found them to be filled with customers. “It seems to me most people were sitting down and having a meal,” he said. “If 22 people want to be served (inside), what do you do?”
“We would love a larger seating area,” Kellenberger said. “The half-acre wouldn’t accommodate that. Dunkin’ Donuts didn’t have a large seating area. We’ve just started the drive-thru type (restaurant), and they have been successful. They are for people on the go.”
The Rochester City Council unanimously approved a conditional land use for the new Tim Hortons Sept. 24.
“I am very excited and think it is a terrific use of space,” Council member Nathan Klomp said. “People drive a long way for Tim Hortons. That is the road and what we have to deal with.”
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