Summit County’s only McDonald’s to close for 120 days and reemerge a PlayPlace | SummitDaily.com

Summit County’s only McDonald’s to close for 120 days and reemerge a PlayPlace

The McDonald's in Silverthorne has been approved for its plans to demolish the building built in 1979 and rebuild it this summer with a PlayPlace as an added feature.

The Silverthorne Town Council approved a request Wednesday allowing the owner of the McDonald's at 220 Summit Place, right off Interstate 70, to bulldoze and rebuild the fast-food restaurant with better entrances and a new PlayPlace.

Contrary to popular belief, most McDonald's don't have PlayPlaces, said Robert Palmer of Strategic Land Solutions, referring to the areas inside a number of McDonald's with slides and ball pits for children.

Palmer's firm is working with McDonald's in the building process, and he answered the town council's questions regarding the project at Wednesday night's meeting.

A preliminary plan to overhaul the restaurant, which was built there in 1979, was approved in September, and the council voted 4-0 in May on the final site plan. The restaurant, however, came before the council again Wednesday to request a few changes to their proposal, shifting a few easements ever so slightly and repositioning the enclosure for its trash bins, among a few other minor adjustments.

Still, council members pressed the builder on site drainage, snow removal and other building codes before unanimously approving the request. Some of the discussions revolved around the coming PlayPlace.

Generally, Palmer said, the company refrains from building PlayPlaces where demographics suggest there isn't enough support for one.

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"They look at what's around it — age, how many kids, and things like that," he explained of McDonald's selection process. "Not everybody gets a PlayPlace because there are a lot of costs associated with it, not just the cost of the building but the cost of the extra land and everything else like that."

During the meeting, Mayor Bruce Bulter noted that Silverthorne's demographics actually came up short in qualifying for a PlayPlace based on McDonald's criteria, but the restaurant's owner and operator, Paul Nelson, "went to bat" for the addition, Butler said, and the company eventually approved the request.

"He knows better than those numbers," Palmer said of Nelson and Silverthorne's demographics, adding that one of the great things about the fast-food chain is the flexibility it exhibits in dealing with local owners.

Palmer said construction on the new building could begin as early as August, and because they'll be demolishing and rebuilding it, McDonald's will be closed during that time, likely for 100 to 120 days.

"Everything will be new," Palmer said of the project. "Parking, landscaping, building, everything."

Before the meeting began, Councilman Robert Kieber and Palmer briefly discussed what might happen to the McDonald's employees during the closure. Palmer told the councilman it is his understanding that some of the workers could land at other nearby franchises, but Kieber noted that because of the distance to the next closest McDonald's, that might not be feasible.

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