A months-long battle of wills between Chick-Fil-A and city planning officials has ended with the fast-food chain cancelling its plan to open a drive-thru restaurant at the boarded-up former Grinder location near the corner of Manchester Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard.
Zoning rules specific to downtown Westchester have long prohibited new restaurant drive-thrus in the area. Despite support for the restaurant from several community organizations, Chick-Fil-A’s proposal had been in limbo due largely to L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin’s refusal to grant a zoning exemption.
In a written statement to The Argonaut, Chick-Fil-A confirmed their decision to pull out of lease negotiations for the property.
“After careful consideration, we have decided not to further pursue a new restaurant site at Sepulveda and Manchester due to many factors, including the logistical challenges with drive-thru approval,” company officials wrote.
Cyndi Hench, president of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester – Playa, said Chick-Fil-A’s withdrawal is a missed opportunity for Westchester.
“I think that it is unfortunate for our community, as I believe that [Chick-Fil-A] is a good neighbor and contributor to the community. The jobs that they create serve as good entry-level jobs for youth in the communities where they operate,” Hench said.
“I am optimistic that a good business that is a good fit for the neighborhood would love to operate here, and my team and I are actively working to bring a business to the site that fits into the thriving pedestrian-friendly neighborhood center we are working to create,” Bonin said.
— Gary Walker