Central Michigan University students who have longed for the unlimited breadsticks and salads of the Italian-American cuisine restaurant chain Olive Garden will soon find their cravings satisfied.
“The project should be turned over to the owner on or about Sept. 16 for hiring and training personnel. They are expecting to be open to the general public on or about Oct. 7,” Union Township Building Official Randy Robinson said.
The restaurant is at 4062 E. Bluegrass Road, is just south of one of its parent company’s other dining establishments, Red Lobster.
At 5,830 square feet, the building will be approximately one-third larger than its counterpart, with the capacity to seat approximately 262 people.
Robinson said construction for the project began in April 2013, led by the Illinois-based construction firm Belisle Construction, Inc. The construction process began following the Union Township-issued building permit on March 25.
In the time since the project’s start, Olive Garden has acquired a liquor license. With this, it intends to implement a “liquor-to-go” policy, where customers may take less than three quarts of an unfinished alcoholic beverage home following their meal.
Union Township Zoning Administrator Woody Woodruff said as a whole, working with Olive Garden has been a pleasant experience, although at times dealing with it and the nearby Indian Hills Plaza was a struggle.
In recent years, Woodruff said the mall has occasionally struggled to contain storm water. However, Woodruff’s main concern was the traffic associated with nearby Mission Street.
“The westerly entrance is awfully close to Mission (Street’s) intersection. At high-peak traffic times, it’s tough to make a left turn there,” Woodruff said.
Although the nearby traffic might be far from ideal, Woodruff did not believe it would be too large of a threat for those exiting the establishment.
“At the end of the day, it’s not a great traffic scenario,” Wooodruff said. “But it’s not highly dangerous.”