Cobleskill hears plans for new McDonald's


By Patsy Nicosia

The McDonald's Corporation is hoping to take down and replace its Main Street, Cobleskill restaurant with one that better reflects how people eat today.
That's what Chris Boyea of Bohler Engineering of Albany told the Village Planning Board Monday.
McDonald's is considering several properties in the Northeast for "reinvestment projects," Mr. Boyea said, and they're especially interested in Cobleskill.
Though McDonald's could remodel the existing restaurant here, if they "scrape and rebuild," it would let them address a number of problems, including American Disabilities Act accessibility and parking.
When the Cobleskill McDonald's was built, Mr. Boyea said, more people ate in; today, more people use the drive-thru-a nationwide trend.
They'd like to address that in Cobleskill by adding side-by-side drive-thrus, each with their own menu board, something that would help avoid long lines there.
Other changes would include one-way traffic around the site and parking next to the building, so customers would no longer have to cross traffic.
A new building would be slightly smaller than the existing McDonald's-4,560 square-feet as opposed to 5,012 square feet-and there would be more parking and more greenspace.
The building would be set back a little farther from Main Street and there would be a "recirculation lane" in the front so people who needed to go back inside the restaurant for something-extra ketchup, to use the bathrooms-wouldn't have to go back out onto Main Street first.
Mr. Boyea showed planners several possible restaurant designs.
The "custom" design has a flat roof-village code calls for gables-and so would need a variance.
Other variances would be needed for setback, signs and green space.
McDonald's could also simply remodel the existing building, but "a redevelopment project is what McDonald's would like to go forward with in the Village of Cobleskill," Mr. Boyea said.
"There's nothing here we scrimped on. This is a world-class project."
A new McDonald's would eliminate the existing Play Place, replacing it with a play area with interactive games, Mr. Boyea added.
Jamie Bautochka, Planning Board chairman, is also a driver's education teacher; she said she had concerns about the safety of the recirculation lane in the front of the restaurant.
Other planners said they'd like to see the site more pedestrian-friendly.
Mr. Boyea said they're open to looking at changes "and then it would be up to McDonald's to see if they could live with it."