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After council approval, Wendy’s undertaking renovations this spring

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 18, 2016

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GROSSE POINTE FARMS — The Wendy’s restaurant at 18800 Mack Ave. is about to get a new look that should be curiously familiar to longtime residents.

Alan Okon, construction manager for The Wendy’s Co., said that they plan to remove the existing fascia and restore the original fascia underneath.

“It’s actually still there,” Okon told the Farms City Council during a May 9 meeting, adding that the old façade is in decent shape.

He said officials from the chain and the city have been working out the details on a fresh appearance for the business for the last year.

“We’re very excited,” Okon said. “We as a company two years ago started a remodeling program throughout the country. … This is one of our older (restaurants).”

Although the national chain initially proposed a sleeker, more modern look with large windows, City Planner John Jackson said he worked with Wendy’s representatives to come up with something more in keeping with the architecture of other buildings in the city, especially along Mack. 

The end result was a more traditional façade with a gabled front instead of the boxier modern version. And instead of the dark brown paint that was proposed at first for the exterior — or the chain’s second choice of white, which Jackson said planners still deemed inappropriate for the location — they settled on a Wendy’s corporate-approved shade called “Wendy’s Grey.”

Okon said the restaurant chain is “trying to (achieve) what the city wanted to see.”

Okon said they’re afraid to strip the old white paint off the building because they believe they could also strip the brick, so they’re proposing to paint over it with Wendy’s Grey, which he described as a “medium gray.”

They’re also planning a “total remodel of the dining room,” including new tile, a wooden look throughout, a Wi-Fi bar, soft seating and an electric fireplace, Okon said. There will be a patio for outside dining on Mack, as well as new equipment, a new floor and a new ceiling in the kitchen, he said.

“We’re going to really make this stand out as a top-notch restaurant,” Okon said.

He said the dining room might be closed to customers “for two days, tops” while renovations are underway, but even if they need to close that area, the drive-thru will remain open.

The commercial trash receptacle in back will no longer be accessible through the alley, because Okon said they’re moving the location of the opening, which addresses a concern of some city officials.

Because the owner of this Wendy’s — who has operated it for about the last 20 years — is investing so much in the remodeling effort, Okon said the owner is hoping to extend restaurant hours until midnight. Farms Public Service Director Terry Brennan said the “original development was limited to (staying open until) 10 p.m.,” even though the city’s ordinance allows for midnight closure of such a business.

However, the extended hours question will have to wait until a future meeting.

Because the later closure wasn’t part of the public notice for the site plan, City Attorney William Burgess told the council that they wouldn’t “be allowed to consider that tonight.”

Two new signs for the building also need future approval, Brennan said. Because of the addition of the patio, Okon said they need to move the existing monument sign, and they’ll also need to get city approval for the new sign on the front of the building. The restaurant currently has only these two signs.

Okon said they planned to get started on the interior and exterior work as soon as they got council approval. The whole project is expected to take about a month to complete, he said.

“We’re anxious to get going,” he said.

The council unanimously approved the proposed site plan, clearing the way for the project to start.