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Chipotle makes Salem plans official

A Chipotle Mexican Grill is coming to the corner of East State Street and Southeast Boulevard in Salem, site of the former True North Shell gas station and convenience store, shown during demolition this time last year. (Salem News file photo by Larry Shields)

SALEM — The rumors are finally true — Chipotle Mexican Grill has finalized a lease for the spot where the True North Shell station used to be at the corner of State and Southeast Boulevard.

City Zoning Officer Chip Hank confirmed Thursday that he received an email late in the afternoon from Carnegie Companies Inc. in Solon regarding the lease, along with drawings for the restaurant which will include a pick-up window. He also said he spoke with Deirdre Salois, senior property & construction manager for Carnegie Properties, by phone.

According to Hank, he wasn’t given an exact time frame for Chipotle opening but “she said by the end of the year they want it open.”

There has been talk for some time about Chipotle coming to Salem and Salois even referenced the rumors in her email to Hank. He said an architect had contacted him over a year ago about a restaurant at that location, then shortly after he got an email about a sign for Chipotle for that site, but he had not received anything or heard anything since then.

The Shell station closed a year ago and the fuel tanks underneath were all removed, along with the building, leaving an empty lot.

Hank said Howells & Baird is working on the final site plan for the company and once complete, Hank will take the plans to a third party engineer for review. The lease plans submitted for the site show a 2,325-square-foot building, with the drive entry for the pick-up window on the east side, traveling west and turning south to the pick-up window on the Southeast Boulevard side of the building.

The email said the company is on a very short time frame with Chipotle for building turnover so Salois said she has told their architect/engineer to start the plans.

The popular Chipotle features burritos, bowls, tacos, quesadillas and salads and has restaurants nearby in Canfield, Boardman, Austintown and Alliance.

Salem Mayor John Berlin heard about the plans for Chipotle from Hank and said it’s always nice to see economic development happening in town. He said he was pleased the franchise has made a point of locating in Salem.

“We were introduced to Chipotle on Cedar Road in Cleveland in 2003/2004,” he said, while his son was in college.

He’s also been to the location in Boardman and likes to get carryout orders.

“Hopefully it’s the start of other franchises looking at Salem and realizing they can make a go of it in our community,” Berlin said.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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