Patch: Who exactly am I talking to?
Spokesperson: I am a member of the 5901 Ridge LLC development team, responsible for online communications. You can refer to me as “a spokesperson for 5901 Ridge LLC” or “a spokesperson for the developers."
Patch: What can you tell me about the status of the property located at 5901 Ridge Ave.? Obviously you're seeking support for a Wendy's, but what's the timeline?
Spokesperson: The properties at 5901-5909 Ridge Avenue are being developed by 5901 Ridge LLC, of which Anthony and Frank Giovannone are members. The property is under lease to Wendy’s, who will operate a corporate-owned (not a franchise) restaurant there. Plans have been filed with the City of Philadelphia, and 5901 Ridge LLC expects to be before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals within the next 60 days for permitting. Once permitting is completed, construction will begin and 5901 Ridge LLC and Wendy’s expect that construction will be finished by Spring 2014.
Patch: Can you tell me why the Giovannone Brothers have decided to go ahead with the Wendy's project if that is in fact what they are doing?
Spokesperson: The Giovannone Brothers listened to community input during the winter and spring of 2013 and, as per the Civic Group’s request, examined a number of different options. After extensive research and due diligence the most feasible – and neighborhood-friendly option – was a restaurant, and Wendy’s had expressed strong interest in this site and the Roxborough neighborhood.
The Giovannone Brothers believe that a modern, clean Wendy’s, with outdoor seating and pedestrian and bike-friendly access, is a better fit for this site than the other available, feasible options, such as gas stations, auto repair shops, dollar stores or services like banks, pharmacies, pizza shops and hair/nail salons for which the local market is already saturated.
Over the last six months, the Giovannone Brothers have spent considerable time and energy talking to local residents, workers and business leaders in the area to gauge interest in a quick service restaurant, and have found significant support not just for the idea, but also for Wendy’s specifically. Since the project has been announced in early September, support has been robust and enthusiastic, as evidenced not just by the 1,000+ likes on Facebook, but also by the hundreds of support cards, letters and website petition signups that have been collected.
Patch: When it originally came out that a Wendy's would be built at this location there was a public outcry, and the Giovannones said they would go back to the drawing board. Can you talk about that process at all? What made them come back to Wendy's?
Spokesperson: To be neighborly and respectful, the Giovannone Brothers conducted several months of due diligence research to find alternatives, but the alternatives that were feasible for this site were not worthy of the neighborhood. Wendy’s had expressed strong interest in the site, and when compared to choices like dollar stores, auto repair shops, gas stations or more hair salons, the choice was simple.