Development Beat: New Building Report

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Taco Bell

Taco Bell's California Sol store design concept

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Thursday, October 13, 2016: New Building Report

Why is it that October the 13th couldn’t have fallen on a Friday? The Gregorian calendar truly is a cruel mistress.

Thankfully, we’ve got some good news to take our minds off this terrible turn of events: there’s a new Taco Bell coming to Louisburg Road.

The blue dot indicates roughly where the new Taco Bell will get built


The blue dot indicates roughly where the new Taco Bell will get built

According to, this will be the 13th location of the ubiquitous “Mexican” fast-food chain in Raleigh. It will be located in the Forestville Crossing shopping center, a “150,000 SF mixed use shopping center located in the well-populated NE corridor of Raleigh on US 401 & Forestville Rd.” Existing dining options include Roadrunners Pizza & Subs, Jumbo China, Big Al’s BBQ and more.

Forestville Crossing opened in 2007 and is currently managed by the Widewaters Group out of Charlotte.

The property is marketed largely on the strength of its location: there are countless residential developments in the surrounding area. A flier notes that “Over 2,000 residential units approved or pending approvals during the past 2 years” touts a mixed-use development that will include ” 150,000 SF grocery anchored shopping center — 180 townhomes — 30,000 SF office space,” and boasts about a signalized intersection connecting the center with a “1,100 unit upscale residential development.”

The Lowes Foods at Forestville Crossing

The Lowes Foods at Forestville Crossing

As for the new Taco Bell, the 2,159 square foot structure will be constructed by Norville Construction out of Wilson, NC for $299,000.

Per its website, Norville seems to specialize in disaster restoration, which makes it sound like they should be getting rid of a Taco Bell, instead of building a new one. Or maybe this is the company you’d hire to renovate Taco Bell’s bathrooms after a few years of abuse from diners.

While we don’t have many details on the new restaurant beyond its cost and square footage, we are pretty confident that it, unfortunately, won’t be designed in one of the new upscale cantina styles currently being tested in Orange County, California, that apparently also offer their patrons “shareable menus” and “alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, sangria, and spiked frozen drinks.”

Nope, we imagine this will just be a regular old Taco Bell, although residents of Cleveland, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Las Vegas, and New York can expect to get cantina locations of their own in the near future.

While a majority of Taco Bells received significant makeovers a few years back — we noted in 2014 that “Structural and cosmetic repairs to the tune of $5,000 are underway for the Taco Bell at 4506 Capital Boulevard, although it’s difficult to imagine how the near-perfect aesthetic of nobody’s favorite Mexican restaurant could possibly be improved upon. If the same brain-trust responsible for the Waffle Taco is behind the new design, it’s a frightening prospect indeed.”

doritoslocosIf anything, we’d say these new restaurant concepts fall somewhere between said Waffle Tacos and the wildly successful Doritos Locos tacos. The latter, released in 2012, was actually one of the most successful fast-food innovations of all-time, having racked up more than a billion dollars in sales in its first year of release alone and spurring the hire of more than 15,000 new employees, at least according to Taco Bell.

In case you missed the tidal wave of coverage (seriously, Google “Taco Bell New Design”!) from earlier this year, Taco Bell is currently testing out four new concepts, all of which are pretty similar to one another and bear an uncanny resemblance to Chipotle.

The minor differences between each store concept remind us of an old article from The Onion, “Taco Bell’s Five Ingredients Combined In Totally New Way” where the Taco Bell CEO boasted that “You’ve never tasted Taco Bell’s five ingredients combined quite like this.”

In a similar spirit, each of the new designs share the same basic elements and the minor aesthetic differences reflect the same spirit of creativity that it takes to re-imagine Taco Bell’s five ingredients. But enough of that: let’s take a quick look at each of these concepts, care of a May 17, 2016 press release put out by The Bell. If we had to pick a favorite, we’d go with California Sol.

Heritage: Inspired by its culinary roots in Mexican-inspired food with a twist, this style is a modern interpretation of Taco Bell’s original Mission Revival style characterized by warm white walls with classic materials in the tile and heavy timbers.

Taco Bell's Heritage store design concept

Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s Heritage store design concept

Modern Explorer: This rustic modern style is a refined version of the brand’s Cantina Explorer restaurants and can easily fit into a suburban or rural environment. Inspired by the farms that make our food, this style reinforces Taco Bell’s commitment to the best ingredients, authenticity and transparency of materials and dining preparation.

Taco Bell's MModern Explorer store design concept

Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s MModern Explorer store design concept

California Sol: Inspired by Taco Bell’s California roots and the California lifestyle, this design blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor. It’s a celebration of dining al fresco and embraces a laid back beachy feel both inside and out.

Taco Bell's California Sol store design concept

Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s California Sol store design concept

Urban Edge: This design represents an eclectic mix of international and street style done the Taco Bell way. This style is inspired by timeless design married with cutting-edge elements of the urban environment.

Taco Bell's Urban Edge store design concept

Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s Urban Edge store design concept

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