• Name: Panda Express
• Location: 2288 Gunbarrel Road, at the corner of Gunbarrel Road and Commons Boulevard
• Status: The project is just ramping up, according to Royce Cornelison of P&C Construction. The plan, he says, it to “build out and modify an existing space to Panda Express specifications.” Demolition is under way right now, and construction will start after the Thanksgiving holiday. The site was formerly a nail salon, but the whole interior will have to be changed over for its new use as a food server.
• Cost: Between $500,000 and $600,000
• Features: Panda Express started with a simple idea and fast execution: “Chinese food, well cooked and served fast,” according to the company’s website. The first restaurant opened in 1973 in Pasadena, Calif., wowing diners with its speed, taste and cleanliness.
• Founders: Panda Express was founded and is still owned by Andrew and Peggy Cherng.
• Company info: Panda Express sales in 2010 exceeded $1.4 billion after the company added 76 new locations last year. Over the last five years, Panda has built more than 600 locations throughout the U.S. The company says it will operate “well over 1,400 restaurants” by the end of 2011.
• Builders: P&C Construction Inc., Brent Stone, project manager
• Completion Date: Tentative, early to mid-February
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...