Popeyes looking to open at former KFC in Hadley 

  • Route 9 in Hadley GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/21/2021 11:13:09 AM

HADLEY — Popeyes, the fast food fried chicken restaurant, is looking to open its first Hampshire County restaurant on the Route 9 strip.

The Planning Board Tuesday voted unanimously to waive site plan review for proposed exterior changes to the vacant building at 335 Russell St., in the Mountain Farms Mall parking lot, that previously housed a Kentucky Fried Chicken until it closed four years ago.

But the approval of the initial work on the project only allows the company to begin exterior alterations to conform with corporate design, and does not permit Popeyes to begin putting up its exterior signs.

Planning Board members told Robert Grimaldi of G141 Architecture, LLC of Kenilworth, New Jersey, who was presenting on behalf of Popeyes, that the signs should be scaled back.

“There seems to be signs all over the place,” Planning Board Chairman James Maksimoski said.

Grimaldi’s plans showed three distinct signs.

The main sign reading “Popeyes,” facing South Maple Street, would be 32½ square feet.

Two smaller medallion signs, featuring a silhouette of a chicken in the middle surrounded by the words “Louisiana Kitchen,” would be about 7 square feet each.

Finally, what Grimaldi called a new branded element stating “Love That Chicken,” would be written, graffiti-like, on the side of the building and would total 93 square feet.

Hadley’s sign bylaw allows just 64 square feet total for all signs at a business.

“The number of signs is fine, the square footage is too much,” Maksimoski said.

In 2007, a renovation plan for the Kentucky Fried Chicken similarly ran into complications when the Planning Board asked the eatery owner to reduce the size of a new portrait of company founder Colonel Sanders going on the store’s cupola.

Grimaldi said if Popeyes corporate pushes for all the signs requested, he will file for a Zoning Board of Appeals variance. Otherwise, he would come back to a Planning Board meeting in a month or six weeks to get the final approval.

Though Grimaldi requested contingent approval immediately, board member Joseph Zgrodnik said this was not possible.

“We want to see exactly what we’re getting before we make the approval,” Zgrodnik said. 

Grimaldi said the project is mostly a renovation of the existing building.

“The guts of the building will be changing, but the footprint will not,” Grimaldi said.

The nearest Popeyes in the region are in Chicopee and Springfield, and as the meeting began board member Michael Sarsynski implied that bringing one to Hadley would be a popular decision.

“If it’s Popeyes chicken, I want to waive site plan approval,” Sarsynski joked.

“I appreciate that,” Grimaldi said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.



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