VOL. 129 | NO. 168 | Thursday, August 28, 2014
McDonald’s Wins Approval for Highland Location
By Amos Maki
McDonald’s will begin construction next year of a new restaurant at Highland Street and Southern Avenue near the University of Memphis.
The fast food giant won unanimous approval Wednesday from the Memphis-Shelby County Board of Adjustment for several zoning variances, the only regulatory approval the company needed to move forward with the project.
According to the most current site plan, the 5,353-square-foot restaurant building is situated along the sidewalk on Highland, and a looping drive-thru proposed earlier has been replaced with one that runs behind the building.
McDonald’s won approval for several zoning variances, including for additional parking and the amount of transparency, or windows, required under the University District Overlay, a set of zoning regulations that promotes urban, pedestrian-friendly development.
Earlier designs of the proposed restaurant at the southeast corner of Highland and Southern ignited strong opposition from neighbors – including university leaders and the University Neighborhood Development Corp. – because it did not comply with the zoning overlay.
To make way for the new restaurant, the existing buildings that once housed Highland staples such as Whatever and the Super Submarine Shop will be torn down, along with a nonconforming billboard. The existing McDonalds just across Highland will be mothballed for sale once the new restaurant is complete, which is expected sometime in 2015.