This month, the Chick-fil-A development team continued their preliminary work on redeveloping 9950 SE Stark Street. Designers have modified the project from the Early Assistance meeting last May. The current Early Assistance no longer seeks to demolish the approximately 7,012 square foot building or construct a drive-thru lane on the property. Instead, crews will rehabilitate the existing structure to host the fast food restaurant with 98 indoor seats. Plans still include some outdoor seating.
Currently zoned as Central Commercial (CX), City planners expect new developments on this property to maximize density and encourage urban activities. The CX zone allows projects with tall buildings placed close together. Developers working in this zone should create pedestrian-oriented structures with a strong emphasis on a safe and attractive streetscape. The proposed project on SE Stark Street will be a nonconforming use of the existing site. Portland allows noncomplying use within a zone when the building predates the new standards and only expects zone compliance to occur when property owners significantly redevelop the site. The status of nonconforming structures is not affected by changes in ownership or tenant. The project’s initial demolition and drive-thru-oriented redevelopment plan would need to adhere to the CX standards. This new renovation plan will create a different Chick-fil-A than most of the restaurant’s other locations but retain its nonconforming status and maintain the usage pattern of previous tenants.
The single-story structure, first built in 1984, hosted a wide range of restaurants and entertainment venues over the years. Rax Roast Beef owned the property until 1990. Recent tenets included Tony Roma’s restaurant, Hooters, Mystic Gentlemen’s Club, and Venue Gentlemen’s Club. If approved, Chick-fil-A will shift this location’s use back towards general fast food and away from adult-orientated services. The lack of a drive-thru window will limit some of the traffic impact experienced by the change in use. However, based on other Chick-fil-A locations, this could become one of the most popular destinations in the surrounding blocks and attract additional vehicles to the area. The project is likely months away from approval and may fail to move beyond the planning phase. Look for permit applications sometime next year if the City approves this site’s reuse.
Article originally published May 13th, 2022.
A recent land-use Early Assistance application indicates Chick-fil-A may soon open a new restaurant on SE Stark Street. If approved, developers will demolish the 1984-era building and construct a new fast food restaurant with a drive-thru window. Located at 9950 SE Stark Street, the 36,590 square-foot half-block property currently houses an adult entertainment club and bar.
The Chick-fil-A development team intends to construct a 4,991 square foot building with 98 indoor seats for guests. Outdoor canopies and an outdoor eating area with 12 patio seats would surround the new building. The property sits between SE Stark and SE Washington Streets, aligned at SE 99th Avenue near Mall 205. The site offers a variety of vehicle access points and is near the number 15 TriMet bus line. Other Chick-fil-A restaurants tend to attract many visitors, sometimes with lines spilling onto the neighboring street. However, this proposed Chick-fil-A is just six miles from the Clackamas restaurant and seven miles from the Gresham location. That density of stores may reduce peak demand for the proposed eatery and avoid traffic issues sometimes seen at other Chick-fil-A sites.
Developers use Early Assistance applications during the pre-planning phase of a project. Many proposals do not continue past this stage, and this Chick-fil-A may never materialize in this location. However, the addition of a popular destination restaurant in the area could draw in more visitors and improve business for neighboring stores. Expect to see updates regarding building permits if this project moves forward.