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McDonald's looks at past for future

The old Land O'Lakes McDonald's is coming down, and plans call for its replacement to have

By JAMES THORNER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 7, 2002

LAND O'LAKES -- The Land O'Lakes McDonald's is seeking a new look that's as old as Elvis.

The restaurant at State Road 54 and U.S. 41 aims to be one of only a handful of restaurants in the fast-food chain to go retro.

That means a return to illuminated ground-to-roof arches, a flat sloped roof and black-and-white checkered interior.

"It's kind of a throwback to our old 1950s red and white walk-up restaurants," said Charlie Alloway, assistant real estate manager for the restaurant's Florida region.

The new design emerged as Bob Brickman, the McDonald's franchisee in Land O'Lakes, planned to raze his 19-year-old restaurant in the Pasco Plaza shopping center.

Assuming Brickman gets the permits he needs from Pasco County, his would be only the second McDonald's in Florida built in the roadside style popular through the 1960s.

The other retro restaurant is at Park Boulevard and Starkey Road in the Seminole area of Pinellas County. Nationwide, the trend has transformed 55 of the company's 13,000 restaurants.

The old-style McDonald's restaurants usually are built to suit community demographics, Alloway said. The more customers older than 40, the greater the possibility they bought burgers from such places in their youth.

"It's not something we will do in every location," Alloway said. "It's up to our franchisee. It's more expensive."

There's no word of when the new McDonald's will be complete. McDonald's is renegotiating its lease with the owner of the shopping center, B & B Cash Grocery Stores Inc.

Another hurdle for Brickman's plans: Pasco would have to waive regulations requiring 10-foot landscaped buffers on all sides of the property.

That request is before the Pasco Development Review Committee on Thursday, a meeting that begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Historic Courthouse in Dade City.

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