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First Sonic drive-in to be built at Pittsburgh Mills mall

| Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Local developers Joe and Brian Ferraccio will open the first of their 15 planned Sonic drive-in restaurants this summer at Pittsburgh Mills mall, in Frazer.

"We would like to get it open by August, if not sooner," Joe Ferraccio said.

He announced in January that he and his son were one of two groups awarded a Sonic franchise for the Pittsburgh region. King's Restaurant owner Hartley King and his partners were the other group.

The Ferraccios' territory, generally, covers all of Armstrong and Butler counties, northern Allegheny County and northwestern Westmoreland County.

Joe Ferraccio said in January that about half-a-dozen of his franchises will be built in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

He said that plans are to build Sonics in Allegheny Township, Fox Chapel, Lower Burrell, Plum and the Natrona Heights section of Harrison -- among other communities outside the Valley such as Cranberry, Monroeville, Robinson Township and Wexford.

Ferraccio said on Tuesday that the Sonic at Pittsburgh Mills will sit near the Lowe's Home Improvement store. He wouldn't say how much it will cost to build.

Brian Ferraccio said the building will be 1,540 square feet. The site, he said, will include 20 car stalls for curbside service and eight covered picnic tables.

Initially, the Ferraccios will hire as many as 110 employees, eventually cutting it back to about 70, Brian Ferraccio said.

"The openings are usually a big deal," he said.

Currently, the closest Sonic to Pittsburgh is near Athens, Ohio, Joe Ferraccio had said.

Both Ferraccios declined to say where the next Sonic would open. Joe Ferraccio said in January that a possible location for one would be on the property he's developing in Lower Burrell near the redesigned Parnassus Triangle.

Sonic is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: SONC) that closed at $23.93 on Tuesday -- a roughly 7 percent gain since January.

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