Chick-fil-A is preparing to open two new restaurants in Delaware.
They will be fewer than 10 miles apart, one located in the Prices Corner shopping center on Kirkwood Highway, and the other in place of the former Dutch Inn on South Dupont Highway near New Castle.
In Prices Corner, the former Sears Auto Center will soon be demolished to make way for the Chick-fil-A and a bank. The new construction is part of a redevelopment of the shopping center anchored by Target.
Demolition of the Dutch Inn was well underway in early March prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Chick-fil-A and Starbucks are taking over the space next to other national brands along Route 13 including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panda Express and McDonald's.
Chick-fil-A plans to open the New Castle location in 2021. The company hasn't confirmed the Prices Corner location, but is listed in New Castle County planning documents as the shopping center prepares to demolish the auto center.
There are around a dozen Chick-fil-A locations in Delaware, including nearby locations on Ogletown Stanton Road near the Christiana Hospital and in the Christiana Mall. They are currently limited to drive-thru business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We look forward to joining the community and serving all of our guests delicious food in an environment of genuine hospitality," Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Caroline Taylor said in a statement.
Plans for the Prices Corner shopping center, which call for a fresh facade and multiple new national brands, are moving along as scheduled, according to Deborah Mills Houston of Robbins Property Management.
In addition to Chick-fil-A and the bank, deals are in place for a new restaurant and a national retailer to fill existing space in the shopping center, Mills Houston said. She said she could not share additional information until the agreements are finalized.
The former Sears building is being renovated for Target, a project Mills Houston hopes will be completed by the end of the year. The store will be about 113,000 square feet, some 80,000 square feet smaller than the former Sears, which closed in 2018.
A second floor vacancy of about 66,700 square feet is still being advertised. According to online listings, that tenant would have an entrance left of Target and right of the existing Gabe's.
There are also vacancies left by Payless ShoeSource, David's Bridal and Produce Depot and Deli, among others, that have yet to be filled. Work on a new facade for the entire shopping center is expected to begin soon.
"We are building aggressively," Mills Houston said. "We are still doing leasing and still showing spaces."
Plans filed with New Castle County show a four-phased development at the former Dutch Inn. Starbucks will be built along Route 13 and Chick-fil-A will be angled between 13 and Route 273 behind Starbucks. A retail building is proposed in the final phase behind the existing restaurants adjacent to the motel's entrance.
Starbucks did not respond to requests for comment.