Address: 1520 Shingle Creek Crossing, Brooklyn Center
Size: 2,210 square feet
Site owner: Gatlin Development Co.
Architect: HSB Architects
Details: A new Panda Express Chinese restaurant, one of the first of a new prototype for the national chain’s stand-alone units, has been approved for Brooklyn Center’s Shingle Creek Crossing retail redevelopment.
The suburb’s City Council Monday approved a request from the Rosemead, Calif.-based chain of fast-casual restaurants to build a 2,210-square-foot restaurant on a “pad” site within the $100 million retail district, the former site of the Brookdale Mall.
When the Shingle Creek redevelopment was originally laid out in 2011 by owner Gatlin Development, the pad was envisioned for a 9,100-square-foot building with a drive-thru lane, most likely a bank, but company officials approached the city last year with an idea for a smaller restaurant structure on the spot, City Planner Tim Benetti said.
It will be integrated into the rest of the development via connections to Shingle Creek’s system of pedestrian walkways.
The building’s design is a reflection of Panda Express’ new “Bright & Fresh” prototype for stand-alone units, which features more glass and metal than earlier versions of the 30-year-old, 1,586-unit chain.
However, one of the hallmarks of the new design was altered for the Brooklyn Center store. Original plans called for a large interior mural of a panda, visible from the street through an upper window, but city officials decided it was too close to being a company logo and thus would have been considered out-of-compliance signage. In a compromise, the mural was changed to a depiction of the Great Wall of China.
Don Jacobson is a freelance writer in St. Paul. He can be reached at hotproperty.startribune@ gmail.com.