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Fort Wayne's West State Pizza Hut, Time Corners McDonald's both closing temporarily to construct new buildings

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 10:30 am

Some Fort Wayne residents will have to make some temporary changes in their dining plans.

Two restaurants — the Pizza Hut on West State Boulevard and McDonald's in the Time Corners area — will be demolished and replaced with new buildings, officials said Monday. Cost figures were not available for either project.

Pizza Hut will close its West State location, 1233 W. State Blvd., as of Monday to remove the existing building and replace it with a new one offering carryout and delivery only, said Todd Hollman, vice president/chief executive officer.

The new restaurant will feature Pizza Hut's updated image as well as its WingStreet menu of chicken wings, waffle fries and mozzarella sticks — similar to the updated Pizza Hut in the Marketplace of Canterbury at St. Joe and St. Joseph Center roads, Hollman said. The company hopes to reopen the West State location by mid-August.

The West State restaurant is nearly 40 years old, and the local Pizza Hut franchise needed to update it to meet national company standards, Hollman said. The site's size limited the local company to reopening as a delivery/carryout restaurant.

However, the change fits well with current business trends, both locally and nationally.

“Our carryout and delivery sales over the last five years have just grown tremendously,” Hollman said.

One big factor in the growth has been Pizza Huts' value pricing, with some menu items cheaper now than in 1996, he said.

The sales increase locally also mirrors results in the pizza industry nationwide, he added. More customers want the convenience of delivery, and more people turn to pizza as a replacement for making a meal.

In keeping with that demand, the new West State location will have a drive-thru window, which it doesn't have now, Hollman said.

The local company hopes to update all Pizza Hut locations in Allen County by the end of the year, he added.

Employees at the West State location will be given the opportunity to relocate to other local Pizza Hut restaurants, Hollman said. Nearby Pizza Huts will provide delivery and carryout service to West State-area customers until the new restaurant reopens.

The West State location employs about 40 people, more than half of whom work part time, Hollman said.

McDonald's

The McDonald's restaurant at 5703 W. Jefferson Blvd. in the Time Corners area closed midweek last week, said Chad Daily, assistant regional construction manager for McDonald's regional office in Indianapolis.

If work goes as planned, the restaurant should reopen around July 24, Daily said. Construction crews already had started initial site work Monday.

The rebuild will bring "dramatic" changes to the exterior and interior of the restaurant, Daily said. "It will be modern, relevant and inviting."

The site layout will be changed slightly to improve traffic flow, he said. The rebuilt restaurant also will offer dual-lane drive-thru service, which Daily said allows staff to serve more customers and to provide faster and more accurate service.

When it reopens, the restaurant will serve the same menu items as it did before closing, he said.

McDonald's doesn't disclose the cost of its construction projects, he said.