SYCAMORE – A well-known national fast food chain franchise now is rising from the ashes of a previous building fire in Sycamore.
Sean Niklas, president of Wendy’s franchisee Saren Restaurants, Inc., said he owns the DeKalb location already and just closed on the Sycamore site in mid-December. He said he was interested in opening another location in Sycamore where the former Hardee’s used to be because there had been a location in the city previously and residents have been clamoring for Wendy’s to come back to the city.
“I know that they were disappointed when the old one burned down,” Niklas said.
Previously, a January 2015 fire destroyed the chain restaurant at its former East State Street location and the building shell was demolished seven months later. At the time, fire officials estimated the damage to be about $500,000, or a total loss.
Sycamore city officials previously said Hardee’s left the DeKalb Avenue location.
Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory also said he has heard a number of comments from residents about how they wanted to see a Wendy’s come to the city after the previous franchise burned down six years ago.
“I think it’ll be a welcome addition,” Gregory said.
Niklas said architecture plans for the new site are getting started right away, which will be subject for approval by Wendy’s corporate. He said he’s eyeing an opening date about six months from now.
“I’m looking at two to three weeks for permitting and 60 to 70 days of construction time,” Niklas said. “So mid-May, beginning in June – somewhere in there.”
Niklas said he knows the new Sycamore location, which will be the franchise’s 11th one, isn’t too far away from the Wendy’s in DeKalb. However, he said, it could still take longer than expected to get from one to the other with a lot of stoplights in between the two sites.
“We’re really excited to be bringing Wendy’s to Sycamore,” Niklas said.
Gregory said this is the time of year the city starts receiving phone calls about business opportunities. He said the city wasn’t sure how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect those inquiries, since businesses have been struggling due to regional and state health and safety mitigations, but the interest shown thus far is pretty similar to a normal year.
“Some are tire kicking, others are interested in getting something going this spring and some are in some sort of a phase in process,” Gregory said. “So we’ve had a fair amount of calls coming in from all of the different sectors – so that’s encouraging.”
Gregory said it’s good news to hear for the city, especially while so many local businesses continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s a positive thing to see buildings filled and businesses coming to town,” Gregory said.