Editor’s Note: An earlier published version of this story listed the wrong number of employees the new McDonald’s will employ. We apologize for the error.
Those iconic McDonald’s golden arches will soon be towering over Rt. 309 in Upper Saucon Township, and members of the local business community gathered Tuesday afternoon to celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony for the area’s newest franchise addition.
The McDonald’s will be located on the corner of Passer Road and Rt. 309 in Upper Saucon Township, adjacent to the future home of a long-anticipated Wawa location. Construction crews were seen working on the forthcoming Wawa on Tuesday while those in attendance celebrated its future business neighbor.
The McDonald’s will feature one of the franchise’s newest building designs, according to its owner, Jim McIntrye, who also owns the McDonald’s located on Main Street in Hellertown.
“The kitchen will have the latest technology,” McIntrye said. “It will be built for speed and productivity.”
He added that construction crews will officially begin work on the building next Monday, and that they anticipate construction lasting three months. He believes the McDonald’s will be open for business by mid-March 2022.
The restaurant will have approximately 46 seats. It will also feature five self-ordering kiosks, and a dedicated pick-up point for delivery, mobile and online orders.
McIntyre said the McDonald’s will employ approximately 70 workers.
The newest restaurant is also designed to accommodate the shifting business practices that have emerged in response to the COVID pandemic.
“We did learn some things from the pandemic,” McIntyre said. “The drive-thru is going to be a two-lane drive-thru, with two separate order points feeding into one lane.”
McIntyre’s Hellertown McDonald’s also features a two-lane drive-thru and self-ordering kiosks.
McIntrye thanked those in attendance at Tuesday’s groundbreaking, which included members from the Hellertown-Lower Saucon and Southern Lehigh Chambers of Commerce, as well as elected officials from surrounding jurisdictions and their representatives.
“Like always, we’re excited to see new businesses developing and growing in our community, especially with a familiar face,” said Ashley Lorah of the Southern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce. “We know you do a lot around the entire Lehigh Valley to give back. You do a lot of dine-and-donate events, so we are excited to be adding that to the Southern Lehigh community.”
Coopersburg Mayor Gary Hovis attended the event to show his support for the new business and the effect it will have on the Coopersburg community, even though the McDonald’s will technically have an Upper Saucon Township address.
“First, Jim, I want to welcome you. Even though it’s not Coopersburg, it still affects our area, and I think it’s wonderful that you’re bringing this business to the community here,” Hovis said. “The community needs something like this, and I just wish you well in everything you do here.”
State Sen. Pat Browne (R-16) was unable to attend the groundbreaking, but his Chief of Staff Ellen Kern presented a proclamation on his behalf.
“(Sen. Browne) plans to come to the grand opening and scarf quarter pounders. He wants you to know this,” Kern laughed.
Anna Stackhouse attended the event to present a proclamation on behalf of State Rep. Milou Mackenzie (R-131).
“Representative Mackenzie and I bonded over McDonald’s,” Stackhouse said. “We tend to go once a week, and she tends to go every single day. So we are very, very excited to have one in Upper Saucon Township, and we can’t wait to see you thrive in this community.”
McIntyre was also presented with proclamations from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-07).
Also in attendance were McIntyre’s wife and his parents, who he thanked.
“My dad is a first-generation McDonald’s operator, and I am a second-generation operator,” McIntyre said. “I want to thank my mom and dad for their love, support and guidance throughout the years.”
The restaurant’s neighboring Wawa is on track to open in the fall of this year according to Wawa’s website.