Nova Scotia

Halifax's Athens restaurant surprised by rumours of McDonald's takeover

McDonald's may want to turn 6273 Quinpool Rd. in Halifax into a quick-fry burger joint, but the owner of the property, Evangelos Panopalis of Athens Family Restaurant, says it will remain a house of souvlaki. 

Halifax sent letter showing a McDonald's in the spot, but owner says he's not selling Quinpool Road property

Residents near the Athens restaurant received notice from the city that someone had applied for a variance to a Quinpool Road property. Attached to the letter was a site plan that included a McDonald's restaurant. (Google Maps)

McDonald's may want to turn 6273 Quinpool Rd. in Halifax into a quick-fry burger joint, but the owner of the property, Evangelos Panopalis of Athens Family Restaurant, says it will remain a house of souvlaki. 

"There is no offer, no agreement, no sale (of either the business or the property)," Panopalis wrote in an email to CBC News. 

Recently, neighbours received notice from the city that someone had applied for a variance to a Quinpool Road property. Attached to the letter was a site plan that included a McDonald's restaurant, which led to speculation online that McDonald's was set to take over the property.

Panopalis's words came as a surprise to the restaurant's neighbours, who received a letter from Halifax's principal planner Andrew Faulkner earlier this week. 

McDonald's Canada did not respond to requests for comment. (Alistair Pike/AFP/Getty Images)

The letter, sent to people living within 100 metres of Athens, announced a variance to the "maximum side yard setback" of the property. 

"This will advise you that as the development officer for the Halifax Regional Municipality I have approved a request for a variance from the requirements of the Regional Centre Land Use bylaw," Faulkner wrote. 

The variance would allow for a wider driveway than what is allowed under the city's centre plan, one bigger than what currently exists at the site.

Attached to the letter was an architectural plan for a McDonald's restaurant, including a logo and a two-lane driveway and parking lots stretching back to Yale Street, which is a one-block dead-end residential street immediately behind Athens. 

The plan depicts a tractor-trailer in the parking lot backing up to unload at the restaurant's "secondary entrance."

McDonald's Canada did not respond to requests for comment. The chain has a restaurant on the opposite side of Quinpool, just a short walk from Athens. 

A Halifax Regional Municipality spokesperson would not comment on the variance because the staff members responsible could not be reached on Wednesday or Thursday. 

Neighbour appalled

George Clark owns a home on Yale Street two doors down from Athens. 

He said his neighbours don't want a McDonald's in their backyards. 

"The rodent problem that comes with it, the seagulls, the constant smell of cooking ... Oh my God, who knows when that would start in the run of the day?" Clark said. 

Clark said he and neighbours he's spoken with on the street intend to appeal the variance by the Jan. 7 deadline in the HRM letter. 

A unique aspect of the Athens property is its connection between Quinpool Road and Yale Street to the north.

Clark said drivers already use the parking lot as a way to escape traffic on Quinpool. He said he fears "constant traffic in and out and up and down Yale Street" if a McDonald's arrives. 

Moussaka as usual

Meanwhile, the owner of Athens said he's not going anywhere. 

"The Athens is still here and doing what we've been doing for nearly four decades," Panopalis said. 

"We get approached several times a year from developers and other groups because our property has value. As part of the centre plan, more and more groups are taking an interest," he said. 

But Panopalis said a possible McDonald's takeover came as a surprise. 

"I too saw this plan for the first time on social media last night, along with everyone else," he said.

About the Author

Jack Julian

Reporter

Jack Julian joined CBC Nova Scotia as an arts reporter in 1997. His news career began on the morning of Sept. 3, 1998 following the crash of Swissair 111. He is now a data journalist in Halifax, and you can reach him at (902) 456-9180, by email at jack.julian@cbc.ca or follow him on Twitter @jackjulian

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now