City council has approved a retail development that will include Butler County's first Panera Bread drive-thru and other retail shops to be determined.

City council has approved a retail development that will include Butler County’s first Panera Bread drive-thru and other retail shops to be determined.

The development, called The Shoppes of Fairfield, is part of a Planned Unit Development that has been in the works since 1995, according to city documentation. City council approved the plan at its Oct. 28 meeting.

Details about other possible retail tenants remain under wraps. William Martin, a real estate developer with Brandicorp, would not reveal what other retail stores would be, how many there would be, or if a bank branch is still part of the plan. He did say he expected the project to begin in 2014.

Craig Flom, president of Breads of the World LLC, a franchisee of Panera Bread, said he expects to hire 60 workers and four managers for the new location.

Panera would move to the new development from its current location at 500 Kolb Drive.

A preliminary map of the plan shows that in addition to the restaurant, there will be three retail spaces — two that measure 1,400 square feet each, and a larger one that measures 3,200 square feet. There will be parking on three sides of the building.

The 2.5-acre piece of land on South Gilmore road near the Meijer store, 6325 S. Gilmore Road, has been a perpetual open green space since 1995.

The lot is divided into two parcels, with Parcel A close to Meijer Drive being the location of the Panera and the retail shops. A “Parcel B” is earmarked as a “future development.” Parcel B is where a standalone bank was supposed to go, but Fifth Third Bank branch on Gilmore withdrew their plans to locate there, and the site is still pending, Donovan said.

Erin Donovan, Fairfield’s planning manager, said a hair salon and a yogurt shop were potential tenants but said nothing concrete had been planned.

The property is between the Meijer and South Gilmore Road and was originally designated as permanent open space, to provide a buffer in front of the Meijer store.

“I think this (development) complements what we have. The corridor has been developed over the last several years, and it meets the needs of Panera to do a drive-through,” Donovan said.

Two of Fairfield’s largest employers — Cincinnati Financial Corporation and Mercy Health Fairfield Hospital — are located in the corridor, along with other office and retail businesses.

Staff Writer Lot Tan contributed to this report.

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