Expect to see construction begin soon on the new Chick-Fil-A along the busy Route 1 commercial strip in Bel Air, a restaurant representative said this week.
“We should be pushing around dirt in the next couple weeks,” Christian Honig, manager of the Forest Hill Chick-Fil-A, said.
While dates are not firm, he said the goal is to open the new Chick-Fil-A in February.
The newest restaurant, the fourth in Harford County, is being built on a 1.3-acre vacant lot at the corner of Kelly Avenue and Baltimore Pike, between Bel Air Town Center and the BB&T Bank branch.
“They picked up their building permit late last week, they’re good to go,” Kevin Small, director of planning for the Town of Bel Air, said. “All they have to do is get it done.”
The 4,793-square-foot restaurant will have seating for 146 people — 122 inside and 24 outside, according to a site plan. The site will have 50 parking spaces.
“We’re super excited,” said Honig, who has worked for Chick-Fil-A for nine years. As general manager of the Forest Hill restaurant, he’ll open the Bel Air restaurant, then oversee both of them, he said.
Honig grew up in Harford County, attending Homestead-Wakefield Elementary, Bel Air Middle and Bel Air High, graduating in 1999, he said. Because he’s part of the community, he’s proud to be part of a restaurant that’s also part of the community.
“We have a positive impact in the community,” he said.
The employees at Chick-Fil-A come first, he said, and the community after that.
“We want to create a great environment for our team members that trickles out to our customers,” he said.
Bel Air is an ideal location for another restaurant because it’s “obviously a very busy area,” Honig said.
“It’s a densely populated area. The demographic fits who we serve well and tend to dine with us,” he said. “It’s a great community and a lot of good going on. We want to partner with it and make the count as awesome as it can be.”
Bel Air officials are excited to have Chick-Fil-A within town limits.
“They’re usually well run and it’s one of those businesses that’s an asset. Other types of business want to bundle with them,” Trish Heidenreich, director of economic development for the town, said. “It’s significant because it means as a community, we’re doing well if we have a Chick-Fil-A.”
The site where the restaurant is being built is in a heavily-traveled part of Bel Air.
Potential traffic tie-ups are a concern not only for the town, but also for the restaurant, too, Honig said.
“We definitely recognize the potential issue with traffic,” he said, but added they want their customers, especially the drive-through customers, to be able to grab their good and be on their way.
“We’re working to get people in and out as quickly as possible,” he said.
Restaurant representatives and Bel Air town officials have met several times to discuss traffic concerns. Small, from the town, said the town has acquired some right-of-way along Kelly Avenue should there be a need in the future to widen it or add another left turn lane.