Chick-fil-A plans Santa Fe store

A Facebook page titled “Santa Fe Needs a Chick-fil-A” was launched in 2012 by a person who said he was tired of driving to Albuquerque for a spicy chicken sandwich.

Chick-fil-A, the popular fast-food restaurant known for its chicken-centric fare, is ready to break ground on its first restaurant in Santa Fe.

The store will be at 2400 Cerrillos Road, in the College Plaza South shopping center near Smith’s, Planet Fitness and Souper Salad.

The site, about 9,000 square feet, used to be home to an Asian restaurant that’s being torn down. It is zoned for a commercial restaurant, so no public hearing is required.

Groundbreaking for Chick-fil-A is scheduled for Friday morning, said Josh Skarsgard, a real estate developer and lawyer with the Skarsgard Group in Albuquerque, which is working with Chick-fil-A.

The Skarsgard family was also a partner in the Las Soleras commercial and residential project near Interstate 25. Chick-fil-A at one time considered that location.

The privately held, Atlanta-based company was launched in 1946, and has been the focus of some controversy in the gay and lesbian community.

Founder S. Truett Cathy was a Southern Baptist and closed his restaurants on Sundays with a stated mission — “To glorify God.”

Still operated by the Cathy family, the company has donated money to organizations that oppose same-sex marriage. Chief executive Dan Cathy in 2012 spoke in support of the traditional view of marriage.

In response, several same-sex couples staged “kiss-ins” in front of Chick-fil-A franchises across the country.

Since the controversy, the company has retreated from its public statements, saying it wants to focus on food and hospitality and “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

Santa Fe has an openly gay mayor and one of the largest percentage of same-sex households in the United States.

Chick-fil-A operates about 2,000 locations nationwide, including stores in Albuquerque, Farmington, Rio Rancho and Las Cruces.

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