Yellowknife

Franchises at new Yellowknife fast food plaza may change


The line-up of restaurants planned for a new fast food plaza on Yellowknife's Old Airport Road has still to be finalized, the developer behind the project says.

KFC, Starbucks, and Taco Bell had been the three outlets initially planned for the development at 251 Old Airport Road, announced last year.

KFC remains "almost 100 percent confirmed," developer Soul Foods Group told Cabin Radio, but the others could change.

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"We’re not 100 percent confirmed who we're putting in yet," said Brian Long, Soul's director of development and construction.

"Who the other players may be is not confirmed."

The original plan to house all three outlets in separate buildings on the lot may also be revised, Cabin Radio understands.

"We’re working at a couple of different options," said Long, who said timing and the ongoing question of the franchises' identity played a role in the developer's decision to explore alternatives.

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"We do have an approved site plan now but we’re looking at alternate best uses for the properties," he said.

251 Old Airport Road is a vacant lot opposite the city’s uptown Independent grocery store, close to McDonald’s and Booster Juice.

A City-issued map showing the proposed location of three new fast food outlets in Yellowknife
A City-issued map showing the proposed location of three new fast food outlets in Yellowknife.

A KFC franchise operated in downtown Yellowknife for almost 50 years before its closure, announced in July 2015, became one of the territory’s most-shared news stories of the year.

The land where these outlets would be built is zoned for commercial use with food and beverage outlets included as a “conditionally permitted” type of business.

Any time a conditionally permitted business wants to open up on this kind of land, city council has the final say in whether that can happen and what conditions, if any, they have to fulfil first.

That means a significant change in plan for the land would have to go back before council.

However, Long says there is a chance the restaurants – whichever ones are eventually chosen – could be open by the end of this summer.

"We’re hoping, and it’s very optimistic, for the end of this summer," he said. "But that’s going to depend on what our final game plan is."

Long said if not everything goes smoothly, summer 2020 may be a more realistic opening date.

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