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Red Lobster could replace King's in Cranberry

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

A proposed Red Lobster restaurant to be located on Route 19 in Cranberry is moving forward as the township's Board of Supervisors will be holding a public hearing on Nov. 20 to review, discuss and possibly approve the development, if there are no concerns, said Ron Henshaw, director of community development for Cranberry Township.

The possible 5,800-square-foot seafood restaurant would be located on the Cranberry Mall outparcel site at 20117 Route 19, which would replace the currently open King's Restaurant.

“Things are shaping up nicely,” said Henshaw. “The township is excited to get a new site, new building and new user that should create some new energy into the Cranberry Mall.”

Developers had to get approval for a liquor license transfer from Butler County from the Board of Supervisors, prior to it being reviewed by the planning commission, said Henshaw, who has been with the township for 18 years.

He said it's a good idea for restaurants serving alcohol to get liquor licenses approved first before moving ahead with planning processes, otherwise it could create more delays.

The planning commission approved the development plans at its Oct. 29 meeting and Henshaw said the next step is the board's public hearing, where residents and other community members can hear more about the plan.

Township Manager Jerry Andree said that the board of supervisors meeting is also more of a technical one where they'll review the plan's ordinances and other details.

If the board recommends approval, they will then officially approve it at the following meeting on Dec. 6, said Henshaw. Or they can keep the matter open if there are concerns and need more information.

The developers hope to open the new restaurant by mid-year 2013. The King's restaurant will then be demolished and replaced with the Red Lobster building.

Andree said they do not have any details yet of timeline specifics, but he suspects the restaurant developers will probably be anxious to begin construction if approved.

“It's a reflection of our business friendly community. Businesses want to be here,” said Andree.

The developers anticipate a 100-person staff for the 220-seat restaurant. Red Lobster is a chain owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., which also owns Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Bahama Breeze.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer with Trib Total Media.

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