THUNDER BAY — It's no secret that Thunder Bay residents are big fans of fast-food restaurants, so there are bound to be lineups when the latest eateries open their doors this year.
The choices along west Arthur Street will grow by two when Taco Bell and Mary Brown's open at the opposite ends of a new strip mall near Arthur Street Marketplace.
Mary Brown's will open in May, and Taco Bell in September.
Developer Enzo Di Gregorio, vice president of Prime Site Properties, said Tuesday there's been a lot of interest in the five-unit development since the company started construction last spring, both from local businesses and multi-national firms.
"We actually have a waiting list of people waiting to get in here. Three spaces have already been accounted for, Mary Brown's on the west side, Taco Bell in the east side, and Fat Panda, the electronic cigarette shop," he said.
"We had been in discussion with these companies for quite some time. They did have interest. Mary Brown's used to be here but did have interest in coming back to Thunder Bay. Once we saw this opportunity coming forward we advised them of it."
Di Gregorio said the remaining spots in the new strip mall are being reserved for existing tenants in Arthur Street Marketplace.
"We're in discussions with Metro to see if they want to take on some more space. If they do, we will leave these spaces for other tenants currently in the mall to see if they want to come outside here as well."
He said developments such as this tend to benefit all businesses in the immediate area.
Di Gregorio added that Thunder Bay is expanding largely within the the southwest quadrant, including the Parkdale area.
"It's definitely a good site to invest in for these types of businesses," he said. "They catch a lot of traffic."
Elsewhere in the city, a new Burger King outlet is opening on Fort William Road opposite Intercity Shopping Centre.