Wendy’s Coming to Ridge Avenue, But Without a Drive-Through

Last March, we told you about plans for a new Wendy's at 5901 Ridge Ave., which was previously home to the historic Bunting House. Built around 1880 and originally occupied by philanthropist doctor Ross Richardson Bunting, the building was demolished in 2012, along with several adjacent properties. When neighbors learned about the possibility of a Wendy's arriving here, they responded with loud opposition, particularly to the project's drive-through element. The proposal led to the creation of a Roxborough Residents Against Wendy's Facebook group, which has over 650 likes.

Bunting House. Image from Hidden City.

The now vacant lot

Last month, the developers for this property presented the Wendy's project to the ZBA. The Central Roxborough Civic Association, in an effort to provide a voice to the opposition in the community, organized a bus trip to the ZBA for residents. The results of the hearing came out last week- the ZBA approved the application for take-out but denied the request for a drive-through. This is seen by a victory for the community, though Newsworks says that an appeal is possible.

According to Kevin Smith of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, there were many different objections to the Wendy's plan from neighbors. These opinions came out through a survey and two very-well-attended public meetings. Problems with the plan include the fact that it doesn't conform to the Ridge Avenue Revitalization Plan, the added traffic created by a drive-through in a small footprint, and a desire to maintain a more walkable community.

It will be very interesting to see what will be the next steps will be here. Will an appeal hold things up for months or will Wendy's build without a drive-through? Or will the deal fall through entirely? We'll keep our ears open and let you know what happens next.