If you noticed a corner of the parking lot at NewBrite Plaza getting torn up in the last few days, then you realize something is happening in the City.
Officials have announced that following a lawsuit Taco Bell will be moving across the street from its present location – at 135 East Main St. – to a new building in the plaza.
“There was a lawsuit pending (prior to the present administration) over zoning,” said Mayor Tim O’Brien. “Zoning calls for multi-story buildings on Main St. and they wanted one floor. That is their model.”
The City rejected Taco Bell’s application so they sued the City.
“It fell to me to negotiate and settle,” said O’Brien. “We went back and forth and made a deal.”
The deal calls for the Taco Bell to put up a certain amount of money meant to go towards art in the City. Some of that money was already used for the mosaic at the New Britain-Berlin YMCA.
“We want to use that money for other things like murals,” said O’Brien. “We are already making good use of it. I would like to see sculpture art along the Broad/Main/Arch Street corridor.”
Taco Bell must also make physical changes such as a better design than usual. It will not look like a typical Taco Bell.
“We need to be working on the old site to make sure it gets occupied and or developed for something else,” said O’Brien.
Taco Bell, at its present location has some difficulties with cars getting in and out of the property.
“It was a little isolated from walking traffic and Taco Bell wanted to be right there in the middle of it all,” O’Brien said. “NewBrite is a very busy plaza. It’s easy to see why they wanted to be there. It’s not the ideal development, but we are trying to make it the best possible fit we can. All in all it works out.”
Glen Bell opened the first Taco Bell in 1962 in Downey, CA. Among the food it sells are Tacos, Burritos, Gordita’s and salads with a Mexican influence.
Representatives of Taco Bell did not return calls from the New Britain City Journal by press time.