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PORTLAND-After taking significant flack for its original plan to open in an existing fast food building with a grandfathered drive-thru at the West end of the Hawthorne District, McDonald’s is now trying to blend in a little. McDonald’s public relations firm says it will reveal tonight its new plans to anchor a mixed-use building on the property that will not include a drive-thru.

The site is owned by John Biggi Jr., owner of Portland-based Biggi Investments. The existing building was most recently leased by Atlanta-based RTM, which shuttered its Arby’s store there nine months ago. GlobeSt.com first reported McDonald’s interest in the site back in October 2000.

A source at RTM told GlobeSt.com at that time that the Hawthorne neighborhood “didn’t fit our customer profile” and wasn’t turning a profit. Indeed, Hawthorne residents and businesspeople have shown a distinct lack of interest in the biggest of the national fast food chains. In addition to Arby’s, Arctic Circle and Kentucky Fried Chicken have come and gone from the district, and Burger King canceled plans due to neighborhood opposition.

The existing development on the site is a traditional, surburban-style fast food facility. It devotes most of its lot to parking in stark contrast to the rest of the pedestrian-oriented district. . Currently, the only national fast food retailer in the heart of the district is Noah’s Bagels, which fit into an existing storefront that fronts the sidewalk.

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