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MATTOON -- The Taco Bell restaurant in Mattoon is slated to move east from its longtime location in front of the Cross County Mall to a new site closer to Interstate 57.

The City of Mattoon building and construction code office recently received a site plan for the planned construction of a new Taco Bell at the southwest corner of Swords Drive and Shopping Center Drive. The new location is north of Holiday Inn Express and south of Cracker Barrel.

MRV Architects Inc. of Rolling Meadows filed the site plan on behalf of the franchiser that owns and operates the Taco Bell at 514 Broadway Ave. East in Mattoon. Mario Valentini, principal with MRV, said construction of the new building is scheduled to start in spring 2019 in preparation for Taco Bell relocating there by early summer.

Valentini said the new restaurant will be slightly larger than the current one and it will have an exterior and interior design that matches the more modern look of newly constructed Taco Bell locations, including digital menu boards.

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In addition, Valentini said the new Taco Bell will have a better site design for the flow of traffic in the drive through lane and around the building. Eastbound vehicles that are bound for the drive through at the current location must make a tight turn in order to get into this lane.

"This will be very easy to maneuver around," Valentini said of the new location.

Mattoon's first and only Taco Bell restaurant opened in 1993 in front of the Cross County Mall and has been a tenant of the overall mall property ever since then.

The Mattoon-based Rural King company purchased the mall property, including the Taco Bell site, in fall 2017. A new Scotty's Brewhouse restaurant opened to the public on Monday in a previously open storefront near the southeast corner of the mall. Rural King plans to relocate its Mattoon store to the former Sears space at the east end of the mall in January.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @RobStroud


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