Chi Chi's plans outlet at Festival in Bel Air

June 06, 1993|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

Chi Chi's, a Mexican-style restaurant, has signed a lease for a site at the Festival in Bel Air on state Route 24.

The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will be east of Sunny's Surplus.

Chi Chi's, a Louisville-based chain, has 236 company-owned and six franchise restaurants nationwide, mostly in the East and Midwest. The chain is owned by Foodmaker of San Diego, which also owns Jack In The Box restaurants.

Lou Mitsch, a spokesman for Cincinnati-based MRT Management, the property manager for the Festival in Bel Air, said construction will begin as soon as all permits have been granted by the county. Permits were filed with the county in May.

The restaurant will be company-owned, Mr. Mitsch said.

Joseph Micatrotto, president of Chi-Chi's, said the company has been trying to locate in Harford County for a number of years. "The growth of that area has intrigued us for some time," he said.

Mr. Micatrotto said the company wants to expand in the region and is negotiating to buy several Mexican food restaurants in the Washington area, including El Torito.

He said the company has reduced its franchise operations from a peak 60 to six because "full-service restaurants are better controlled if company-owned."

H

Chi-Chi's had a gross revenue of $450 million last year.

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Harry Russell, second-generation owner of the Blackhorse Farm, planning to convert 46 acres into a nine-hole, par 3 golf course and driving range.

Because the land is zoned for agricultural use, the project must receive an exception to operate as a golf course. A hearing is scheduled for July 19.

Mr. Russell, 57, said his family has owned the property, between Shawsville and Madonna at state Route 23 and Troyer Road, since the mid-1950s but never has worked the land.

He said that for the past 20 years the property has been leased by Harold Smith, owner of the nearby Clear Meadows Farm, who will continue to grow corn and soybeans on the remaining 12 acres of the 58-acre farm.

Mr. Russell said he had no desire to develop the property residentially. "We want to retain a rural setting with as much open space as possible," he said.

Plans call for much of the course to be shielded by a barrier of pine trees. The lighted driving range has been designed to face east into a heavily wooded area.

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Coffee Coffee has filed an application for tenant occupancy with the county for a site in the Festival at Bel Air.

Mary Romeo will own and operate the shop, which will sell gourmet coffee from around the world.

;/ The shop will be next to Vision Associates.

Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems wants to build a 180-foot communications tower on property adjacent to Conowingo Road 1) in Street.

The project needs special zoning approval because the property is closer to Conowingo Road than Harford County zoning codes allow. A tower may not be closer to a road than its height plus 10 feet.

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