Nugget showdown on Broadway delayed, at least for now

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Big Mac lovers continue to mourn the temporary loss of the McDonald’s near West 238th Street and Broadway for renovations. But there was some hope for more fast food choice in that particular neighborhood, with a Wendy’s set to emerge just 300 feet away.

Or will it?

Separated from the McDonald’s by only a car wash and a laundromat, a Long Island-based real estate investment trust began construction of a Wendy’s at 5805 Broadway earlier this month on the former site of a gas station. The new location will be Wendy’s only franchise in the northwest Bronx, with the nearest restaurants in Edenwald and Highbridge.

The city’s buildings department halted construction June 20, yet an excavator sits on site with the outline of a foundation dug out. Plans are for a one-story, 2,400-square-foot structure.

The firm that owns the lot, Getty Properties Corp., did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The $1.3 billion developer owns nearly 1,000 properties across the country, typically leasing them out to gas stations and convenience stores. The company gets its name from Getty Oil, the now-defunct oil giant whose naming rights and petroleum distribution network the real estate company bought from Texaco in 1985.

Until 2018, the lot was the site of a Shell gas station.

A poster on the site’s construction fence says construction is scheduled for completion in “Fall 2019,” but a visit from a buildings department inspector may have delayed the whole project. The inspector visited the site as part of a “proactive construction safety sweep” in the Bronx, DOB senior deputy press secretary Andrew Rudansky said. The inspector noticed the construction plans approved by the city were not publicly posted as required by law.

“Construction plans and associated drawings are legally required to be kept on site whenever construction work is taking place,” Rudansky explained. “Failure to comply with this regulation will result in an immediate stop work order.”

The disruption appears to only be temporary. Getty Properties, or the Staten Island based-construction firm they hired — Gemstar Construction Corp. — has to simply post the approved plans and invite the inspector back. As long as there are no additional violations, the stop work order will be removed and construction can continue.

“So McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Chipotle, Smash Burger, Buffalo Wild Wings, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins and a Halal truck all basically on one corner,” retired CUNY administrator Chuck Magnus asked in the comments of a Facebook post about the construction. “Where do I start?”

“The urgent care facility” is where he would end up, Magnus jokingly concluded later, referencing the CityMD storefront in the Riverdale Crossing shopping center.

While some were excited for the new fast food option in the neighborhood, others in a popular Riverdale Facebook group were frustrated the flow of junk was out-competing healthier options in the community. Despite a “Not 62” campaign spearheaded by borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx continues to come in dead last in health rankings for New York’s 62 counties year after year.

A 2019 study from the University of Wisconsin’s population health institute ranked the Bronx 62nd in health outcomes, quality of life and socio-economic factors. The same study reported the Bronx had the state’s third worst diabetes rate and the second-most people living in homes where food was not a given, after Queens.

While not that common in the Bronx, Wendy’s is the world’s third-largest burger fast food chain based on locations, behind McDonald’s and Burger King. 

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