Kent’s chances to land Dick’s Drive-In drop; but Sonic coming in 2018

The chances of a Dick’s Drive-In coming to Kent suffered a serious blow, but Sonic Drive-In is back on board with plans to open next year.

Ben Wolters, city economic and community development director, told the City Council at a June 6 meeting that he had bad news about Dick’s and good news about Sonic.

A West Hill location for Dick’s that Wolters hyped to the council in April is off the table. The Spady family, which owns Dick’s, had met with city staff and property owners about possibly buying the land.

“There was a site on Pacific Highway that they (Dick’s) were keenly interested in and spent a lot of time seeing if they could reach an agreement with the property owners of that site near where SR 516 meets Pacific Highway,” Wolters said. “Unfortunately, those property owners decided not to sell.

“They (the property owners) made a decision about the future value of their property as it’s not too far away from the future light rail station. While that is many years in the future (scheduled by Sound Transit to open in 2024), as they put it they were looking out for their grandchildren so they want to keep the property for that purpose rather than selling at this point.”

The owners of Dick’s announced in March plans to build a new restaurant south of Seattle. The potential locations include Kent, West Seattle, South Seattle, Renton, Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, Auburn, Normandy Park, Des Moines and Federal Way.

Wolters said city staff continues to work with the Spady family about other potential sites in Kent but that the owners are looking at other cities.

“We’re in the running but not at the front of the pack,” Wolters said.

Dick’s plans to choose a specific site later this year and expects to open the restaurant in 2018. The expansion is the first for the company since the Edmonds location opened in October 2011. Dick’s has five Seattle locations, including the original site that opened in 1954 in the Wallingford neighborhood.

Sonic to be built

While Dick’s Drive-In might not be coming to town, it appears Sonic Drive-In could open next year.

“The developer closed on his financing last week and feels they are back on track to begin construction in early August,” Wolters said to the council.

The developer will target a March 2018 opening date at the northeast corner of 116th Avenue Southeast and Kent Kangley Road. An anticipated opening this summer was halted after the initial lender pulled out.

Sonic, which features the television commercials of two men chatting in a car, started in 1953 in Oklahoma and has more than 3,500 locations in 45 states. It serves about 3 million customers daily and features carhops at many locations. The nearest locations to Kent include Bonney Lake, Puyallup, Tacoma, Poulsbo and Lacey.