Panera planned for Drexel Town Square in Oak Creek

Would employ around 60 people

Panera Bread restaurant. Courtesy of Shutterstock.

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:34 pm

Oak Creek’s Drexel Town Square could soon be home to a new Panera Bread restaurant.

According to an application filed recently with the city, the proposed roughly 4,800-square-foot freestanding bakery-café and drive-thru would be built at 7902 S. Main St.

Also included would be a sidewalk seating area and dining patio with pergola along Main Street. The patio would be complemented with a two-sided, indoor and outdoor fireplace. The project would also include a parking lot with about 56 stalls.

The project site, at the southeast corner of West Drexel Avenue and South Main Street, is “a highly visible vacant lot at Drexel Town Square,” application documents state. To the east of the site are other retailers and restaurants, such as Mattress Firm, PetSmart, Men’s Hair House, Five Guys, Potbelly and Chick-fil-A.

Once built, the restaurant would be open from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. through 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Panera also expects to employ between 55-60 employees there. This includes full-time and part-time positions.

According to the city’s website, the Plan Commission will consider a conditional use permit for the proposed Panera at a meeting scheduled for mid-January.

Panera officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rendering of the proposed Panera in Oak Creek.
Rendering of the proposed Panera in Oak Creek.

The St. Louis-based company also recently filed plans to build a restaurant at Point Loomis Shopping Center in Milwaukee’s Southpoint neighborhood. That 4,300-square-foot restaurant would replace a former Boston Market building at 3511 S. 27th St.

Panera operates more than 2,100 locations in the U.S. and Canada, and employs more than 140,000 workers.

Drexel Town Square is an 85-acre retail, commercial, residential and civic development southwest of Howell Avenue and Drexel Avenue. The site was home to a manufacturing center built in 1957 by Delco Electronics, which was used by a number of companies until the plant closed in 2008 after its operator at the time, Delphi Electronics & Safety, went bankrupt.

It was redeveloped by master developer Wispark LLC, the development arm of WEC Energy Group, with the assistance in city tax increment financing and a state grant.

Recent retail additions to Drexel Town Square include Diesel Barbershop, Pure Barre and First Watch restaurant. Milwaukee-based developer Barrett Lo Visionary Development recently commenced construction on the second phase of the Emerald Row Apartments at Drexel Town Square, known as Parterre.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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