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Chick-fil-A building new location on Dawsonville Highway
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Mario Luna looks on Thursday as Luis Bocos moves dirt in order to finish installing a manhole at the site for a new Chick-fil-a on Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville. Construction is in the beginning stages of laying down manholes and putting in curbs before work on the building begins. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Chick-fil-A lovers rejoice. The wildly popular but cramped Pearl Nix Parkway eatery is moving to a new and larger location on Dawsonville Highway this summer.

“It’s tight to get in and out of there, so we’re going to increase the size of the property by about half an acre,” said Bobby Shoemaker, operator of the restaurant.

There will be about 25 more seats and two drive-thru lanes at the 805 Dawsonville Highway location, the site of the old Sonic. The restaurant will be about 20 percent bigger, Shoemaker said.

“We’ll have an overall larger restaurant, which will give us the ability to produce more out of the kitchen,” Shoemaker said.

Plans call for the site, which sits below street level, to be raised 5 feet, and the building will be set to the right toward the Starbucks with the drive-thru lanes wrapping all the way around the exterior of property.

Access will be from Green Hill Circle, which leads to the movie theater.

General contractor W. H. Bass broke ground Jan. 19, according to the company’s vice president, Brian Mulligan.

The restaurant will be 4,929 square feet, a typical size for Chick-fil-A, Mulligan said, and framing should go up in the next couple of months.

Shoemaker said the restaurant will hire an additional 20-30 employees to the current 65, and the hiring process is already beginning. Those interested can drop by the 400 Pearl Nix Parkway location.

The project is the 2,500th for W.H. Bass, which is located in Johns Creek.

“For us it’s a pretty exciting accomplishment,” Mulligan said “... We’ve built more Chick-fil-As than any other builder in America, and they’re our longest standing client, so to be able to mark our 2,500th project with Chick-fil-A — we’re very pleased it worked out that way.”

Shoemaker said the new “heritage design” planned for the building will include a repurposed table as the centerpiece of the dining area.

“It’s a really neat look inside,” he said, adding that he had just looked at another location featuring the design. “...It’s a completely different decor; it’s beautiful.”

Shoemaker couldn’t say what may happen to the Pearl Nix Parkway property as Chick-fil-A leases it. He’s still working out the details on the timeline of closing that location and opening the other.

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