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Chick-fil-A looks to roost in Albemarle

After eying Albemarle for several years, Chick-fil-A may be moving into town.

Last Friday, the company submitted plans to the Albemarle’s Planning and Development Services department, the first public step toward opening a restaurant in the city.

According to those plans, they would locate the proposed restaurant at the old Ryan’s building, on N.C. Highway 24-27 across from the Wal-Mart shopping center. The old building would be torn down and a new one constructed in its place.

However, Chick-fil-A has made no official announcement about it yet, city officials noted. And according to county records, the 2-acre property has not been purchased at this time. (Though it may have been leased; there are no public records documenting that.)

“We only know they’ve submitted plans,” Mayor Ronnie Michael said.

Still, it’s a strong indication of the company’s intentions. And not the only one either.

Chick-fil-A has been looking for an opportunity in Albemarle for at least three years now, said Economic Development Director Mark Donham. During that time, the company has contacted the city several times through both Donham’s department and the city’s recruitment contractor, Retail Strategies.

More recently that communication spiked as the company honed in on a site.

“We’ve been working with them closely for several months now,” said Kevin Robinson, director of the city’s planning and development services department.

Until Chick-fil-A makes an announcement, though, there will be no information on how large the restaurant will be or how many it will employ, officials said. Most likely that would occur closer to the company breaking ground.

“We’re waiting to find out with everyone else,” Michael said.