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Panera Bread is coming to Pace. The chain of fast casual breakfast-cafés has signed a lease for the one-acre outparcel at the Santa Rosa Commons shopping center, located at 4739 Highway 90.

The company will build a new 4,000 square foot prototype restaurant with a drive thru on the outparcel in front of Publix, with opening anticipated September 2016. Panera has submitted their building plans to the Santa Rosa County and construction of the restaurant is pending permitting approval.

“I am extremely excited for Panera Bread to open its doors in the Pace/Pea Ridge area,” said Santa Rosa county commissioner Jayer Williamson. “As I have gone across the community and asked what retail stores and eateries people would like to see in District 1, Panera is always one of the first mentioned. I know they will be well received and the community will support their business.”

The Santa Rosa Commons shopping center is “the bullseye of the restaurant and retail trade area” for the North Santa Rosa County/Pace/Milton trade area, said a release from Trademark Properties, which owns the parcel. “National and regional retailer and restaurant chains are placing focus on North Santa Rosa County as a viable trade area, viewing Pace as an extension of the Greater Pensacola market,” said Snyder.

Snyder is also the owner and developer of Pace Crossings, the newly constructed Verizon, Five Guys and Jersey Mike’s development across from Santa Rosa Commons, which will open in late April. Snyder also has other retail developments planned for the Pace area.

“Other national, full-service, and sit down restaurants have expressed great interest in locating to North Santa Rosa County, provided they can offer their full menu items, including Sunday alcohol sales,” added Snyder.

The Pace location will be the company’s fourth in the Pensacola metro area, joining stores at Cordova Mall, Northeast Pensacola, and Gulf Breeze.

Panera, with 2,000 restaurants, is one of the nation’s largest chains of fast casual/bakery-cafe restaurants, specializing in several varieties of breads, bagels, muffins, salads, cold sandwiches, hot paninis, soups, coffee, and teas.

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