PLAISTOW — The long-awaited opening of Panera Bread could happen shortly. Co-franchisee David Peterman said he expects the bakery-cafe to open in mid-February.
“The issues have been resolved and we are looking forward to opening,” Peterman said.
Construction has been underway for the standalone restaurant at Plaistow Road since June. The restaurant will stand at the location of an old Irving Gas Station, at the front of Stateline Plaza.
Although the restaurant sits in Plaistow, the city of Haverhill will be providing the water. The city and Panera argued about providing the water for months, but ultimately Haverhill agreed to provide water because of a 2005 court decision.
The decision stated that tenants which are on the Stateline Plaza property have a right to water and sewer services from Haverhill.
Peterman had hoped to open by last June, but the Plaistow Planning Board had held the project up until the water plans were finalized.
Plaistow Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said he was pleased that Panera would finally be opening.
“It’s going to be a nice addition to Stateline Plaza,” he said.
The 4,000 square-foot restaurant will be the 34th franchise that Peterman will own in New England. It will be the third Panera in New Hampshire that has a drive-through in addition to Derry and West Lebanon.
“We’ve always thought Plaistow would be a tremendous location,” Peterman said. “We’ve always thought Panera would be perfect here. It’s a great town to be in and is a perfect fit for Stateline Plaza.”
The closest Paneras to Plaistow are in Newburyport, North Andover and Derry.