Tongues began wagging as soon as equipment began tearing up the parking lot in front of Target in Mount Dora. The project consists of reconfiguration of the existing Target site with the creation of two new out-parcels. The smaller lot will be home to a 2,442 square-foot Panda Express restaurant with a drive-through. The larger second lot will be a multi-tenant project designed for two restaurant spaces and two retail spaces for a total of 8,358 square feet (see renderings). The project applicant did not indicate if there are tenants yet for the multi-tenant building.
Panda Express, based out of California, originally sought to open at that location over thirteen years ago, but the project was met with legal resistance from Chick-Fil-A which claimed deed restrictions at the Target plaza prevented the national Chinese-American fast-casual chain from opening in that location. Deed restrictions, created by a property owner, are routinely used in commercial real estate to limit a property’s use in order to protect business interests. After years of legal wrangling, Panda Express can finally follow through on its plans for the Mount Dora location. Now, with visible progress being made, lovers of the chain’s popular Hunan-inspired Orange Chicken have reason to celebrate.
The growing restaurant chain also cooks up Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Beef, Honey Walnut shrimp, fried rice, chow mein and other Chinese favorites, and recently began offering plant-based options, including Eggplant Tofu.
Panda Express launched in 1983 when the Cherng family opened the location in Glendale, California. With more than 2,100 stores and $3 billion in sales, Panda Express is the largest family-owned-and-operated Asian dining concept in America, according to the company’s website. Stay tuned to Mount Dora Buzz’s Facebook page for the restaurant's projected opening date once construction milestones are met.
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