Mark from 42Freeway heads back to Bellmawr's massive Direct Connect project, to review what has changed in the last few months. And yes, there are new things to talk about. This update is really a 7 min YouTube video (bottom of article) but we'll highlight here in writing and photos the things in the video.
The Williamstown BHP Taco Bell / KFC was approved last year to be torn down and rebuilt in the center of the lot as a Taco Bell only. Last month (August) they came back to the Planning Board asking to adjust the plans to support a double lane drive-thru. The attorney for the project clearly states that the need for the change was driven by this year’s Covid pandemic… as the many months reliance on drive-thru only sales showed that the drive-thru was even more essential to their business.
This is our first case where the Covid pandemic has directly changed development plans for a new project.
From the Monroe Township Planning Board meeting minutes:
She (attorney) stated that since the COVID 19 pandemic, the drive through service is even more essential to the business than ever before which is why they are proposing the change to a second drive through lane on the property.
Williamstown Taco Bell to be rebuilt. KFC will be dropped
So yes, let’s take a step back because I didn’t post on this the first time around. Currently on the Black Horse Pike in Williamstown there is a combo Taco Bell / KFC restaurant located one business away from Geet’s Diner. It sits at the corner of Pine Street and the Black Horse Pike. A year ago in August 2019, the developers were approved to completely demolish the existing combo restaurant building, and build a new Taco Bell only unit in it’s place.
Currently the existing building’s placement is shifted to the far right of the property, but the new restaurant building will be positioned more in the center of the property.
That first approval last year was approximately 4 months or so before the start of the Covid virus appearing, and at the time the project was approved with a single lane drive-thru.
Since demolition and construction had not started, the restaurant has been operating for 2020, and like many fast-food restaurants in the US for many months they were able to continue operation as a drive-thru only business. With inside dining closed, and factor in that many other restaurants could not open at all… this significantly increased traffic at the operating fast-food drive-thru lanes.
And the Williamstown Taco Bell owners are looking to make sure they have the additional drive-thru capacity to support any business environment.
We do not have a timeline for when this project will start.
110 N Black Horse Pike
Williamstown, NJ 08094