McDonald's Teardown Begins, Residents Await Reopening (PHOTOS)
A crew finally began to demolish the 34-year-old building on Wednesday. Here are some quotes and pictures from the scene.
A familiar landmark in downtown Batavia began to come down in pieces on Wednesday.
An excavating crew started their first full day of taking apart the old Batavia McDonald's at 125 W. Wilson St. The McDonald's sign was pulled off the roof at 2:35 p.m. Sept. 5, according to the timestamp on Batavia Patch's photos.
Residents stopped to view the teardown in their cars, on their bikes and on foot. Many snapped pictures with a phone or camera, including Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke.
McDonald's is clearing out its only Batavia location to make way for a new building with a double drive-thru in the same spot. The company expects to have the restaurant open sometime in November, Schielke said.
The project is an exciting one for residents who have waited years to see this upgrade in the downtown area.
"It's about time ... this is definitely a good thing for Batavia, no doubt about it," resident Tony Pacione said.
Alternate Meeting Spots
The mayor and several other residents are in search of new locations to hold their usual get-togethers, which used to take place inside McDonald's.
Schielke said a coffee group of up to 20 people has worked out an arrangement at Steak 'n Shake, 1901 McKee Street.
One of Schielke's groups said they wanted to order from the same menu at the same price, so they met on Wednesday at the McDonald's at 1812 S. Randall Road in Geneva. The actual interim meeting spot is still up for debate, he said.
While some residents may go out of town for their McDonald's fix during construction, others are apparently using the opportunity to dine elsewhere in downtown Batavia.
Schielke said owners of a couple restaurants nearby said they have actually seen a slight increase in business since McDonald's stopped serving food on Sept. 4. He didn't name names.
Businesses Benefit Batavia
Pacione thinks the modern McDonald's can only help Batavia. He spends plenty of time passing through downtown on the bike trail as a member of The Fox Valley Bicycle & Ski Club.
"I hate seeing empty buildings," he said, looking at the former Prairie Path Cycles building at 160 W. Wilson, across the street from McDonald's. "Thank God (Aliano's Ristorante) is here. Now they can draw business."
More attractions in Batavia will get more people downtown, he said.
See more information on the downtown Batavia McDonald's project.