By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
BENTON TOWNSHIP — Construction for the new Sonic restaurant in Benton Township has progressed without any setbacks, developers say.
Brian Cronkrite, vice president of Marketing for Trigo Hospitality, said they are happy with the pace of construction progress as the company is still searching for other tenants to occupy the remainder of the restaurant/retail complex.
“We are still working on finalizing additional tenants for the building,” he said. “We have approached a number of potential tenants, but there is nothing to announce.”
Cronkrite said workers are starting wall finishes and have completed the majority of doors and windows. They are expected to start installing equipment in a few weeks, with a projected opening for Sonic to be “sometime in September.”
While the Sonic space is halfway completed, Cronkrite said the non-Sonic tenant spaces are being left empty to accommodate customization for potential clients. The project’s main contractor is Priority Construction, Inc., based out of Wyoming, Mich.
“We will begin paving in the next three weeks,” Cronkrite said. “The parking lot, landscaping and Sonic build out will be completed at the same time. The last touches would be on the Sonic restaurant itself.”
The restaurant/retail complex is at 2680 M-139 at the site of the former Maxton Motors building. Demolition of the used car building began in late May, a week after site plans were approved by the Benton Township Board of Trustees and its planning commission.
Greg Molter, of Acquisitions LLC – a Stevensville-based company – submitted a site plan for the 1.8-acre site near the Interstate-94 exit earlier this year. Plans included construction of a 9,200-square-foot, 22-foot-tall building.
The total cost for the project is $4 million, which Cronkrite said includes the price for the property and further development.
Cronkrite said the location was chosen because of the close proximity to the interstate that brings in a high amount of traffic.
In addition to the Sonic location, Molter co-owns the St. Joseph Township plaza off of I-94, home to Panera and Moe’s Southwest Grill.
Before Maxton, the location was the site of the Bill Knapp’s restaurant, which opened in 1963 and closed in 2002. Molter told the Benton Township Planning Commission in May that he wanted to bring back food establishments to the former Bill Knapp’s location.
Cronkrite said they are still in the process of hiring and training management for Sonic. Those interested in a managerial position can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 13, 2015)