Panera Bread considers Farragut Kingston Pike locale

Panera Bread is considering property in front of Village Green shopping center, between Truist Bank and Campbell Station Inn, as a possible location for a new restaurant.

R2R Studio, LLC., architects representing Panera Bread Restaurant, presented an exterior design for the proposed restaurant for review during a Farragut Municipal Planning Commission Staff/Developer meeting Tuesday, July 5.

However, the architects were asked to return to the Town with another design that would feature a pitched roof, “or have the appearance of being two stories,” according to Farragut Community Development director Mark Shipley, while also requiring more neutrally colored signage.

“Most of the comments from the initial staff review are dealing with building elevations,” Shipley said. “When I look it (the design), it looks like a one-story to me.

“This is in the Mixed-Use Town Center overlay portion of the General Commercial zoning district, so the criteria that applies to land within that overlay comes into play here,” he added. “The building itself has to be two stories” or appear to be two stories.

“From our perspective, there’s a fair amount of work to do.”

“I’m inclined to agree with you,” FMPC member Jon Greene said.

The design also featured a tower with Panera Bread’s green branding.

Regarding the Town’s iconic element requirement, architect Stefanie H. Genua said, “Panera corporate was envisioning our green tower as the iconic element for this. Is that not what you would consider?”

“Well, it’s not what I would consider,” Shipley answered. “I would say more muted colors would be more appropriate in this area.

“The iconic element and all the stuff that’s required in the Architectural Design Standards would come into play specific to the Mixed-Use Town Center part of the Town,” he added.

Panera Bread architects opted to postpone discussions on the plan at the Thursday, July 21, FMPC meeting.

“One of the things that is discussed in the Architectural Design Standards is considering your context, especially in the Town Center area, and trying to incorporate comparable architecture nearby with what you are doing with the new building.

“If you are looking at the Campbell Station Inn, to the east, obviously it is a historic building – it has a pitched roof, very traditional — and you also have a pitched roof on (Truist Bank) to the west,” Shipley said.

He pointed out the proposed Panera Bread building is a pretty modern-looking building. He suggested the architects consider a design that brings out Campbell Station Inn’s more traditional elements.

Shipley said Panera Bread has a restaurant in Georgia that has a roof pitch.

“It has more height,” he said. “It has more of an appearance of a two-story building, (and) the signage is more in line with the signage that we require in our Mixed-Use Town Center … the colors are very earth-toned. (There’s) a little bit more transparency (more windows) as well.”

While Shipley said there was nothing wrong with the building proposed for Kingston Pike, he added, “it looks like a building that would be more appropriate in a purely auto-oriented area or maybe somewhere like Parkside Drive.”

On the other hand, Shipley gave more positive feedback on its drive-thru.

“At least from my perspective, it looks like the architects designed it about as good as you can do to make it as discrete as possible,” he said. “With the landscaping, it shouldn’t be very visible from adjoining properties and rights-of-way. They’ve done a pretty good job.

“You can have a drive-thru in this area for restaurants, but it’s pretty restrictive,” Shipley said. “You basically need to hide it to where it’s not visible.”

The drive-thru that would be located behind and to the north of the building.

“They would have some evergreen trees or shrubs planted along the east side of the drive-thru,” he added. “The building itself would hide the drive-thru, mostly, from Kingston Pike, and then to the west, they have other parking area and buildings.”