Chick-fil-A gets $150K development assistance for new Denison site

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
4. Chick-fil-A     • 2020 systemwide sales (U.S.):  $10.8 billion     • % change over 2019:  3.8%

As developers with Chick Fil-A prepare to build the chain's first Denison location, it will receive help from the city's economic development arm in the form of a $150,000 incentive offer to assist in development of the restaurant.

The proposed location comes after the Denison Development Alliance was approached by New Urban Development — a prominent developer associated with the fast food chain in late 2020. These discussions brought a long-time goal of the DDA and economic developers one step closer to reality.

"We've been targeting and recruiting Chick Fil-A for a very long time — well over 10 years and they've changed real estate directors and  real estate partners several times in those ten years," DDA President Tony Kaai said. "So, it was hot, cold, hot, cold."

Cars wrap around the drive-thru at the Chick-fil-a in Sherman on July 9.

This changed when New Urban Development reached out to the DDA in hopes of finding a suitable location. Developers expressed interest in the areas surrounding the intersection of FM 120 and U.S. Highway 75, but no hard corners were available.  After doing some searching, the parties began exploring options at a second location near the intersection of FM 120 and Lillis Lane.

The site has several barriers for development, including a section of West Morton Street that curves North away from FM 120 and narrows the site. The city of Denison took action to address this concern Monday night when it voted unanimously to abandon the right of way for a section of the roadway as a part of the meeting's consent agenda. This will allow for more space for the building to develop away from FM 120.

The incentive by the DDA will help alleviate some of the other challenges for the developer, including demolitions and other site and infrastructure work that must take place for development to proceed.

Kaai noted that the incentive will not move forward until development on the site begins and the final hurdles are removed. One of the issues still facing the site is a Right-of-Way held by the Texas Department of Transportation that crosses the site, which Kaai said could take a lengthy process to alleviate. 

Chick-fil-A opened its newest resturant July 1 at located at 3814 University Blvd. W. in the Lakewood neighborhood of Jacksonville. It is among at least 20 in the Jacksonville area, according to the company website.

If the project moves forward, Kaai said New Urban Development plans to invest $4 million in the site. The return on investment for the site could be short, as the location could see about $4.5 million in annual sales.

Kaai said the incentive is a solid investment for the DDA as Chick Fil-A is an in-demand brand not only in North Texas but across the country. The chain, which currently has more than 2,600 locations in America, was recently named the country's top fast-food restaurant by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index for 2021.