Construction is underway on Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers’ first Colorado Springs location, although it likely won’t be the only site for the popular, Louisiana-based chain.

Site work has begun for a stand-alone, 3,067-square-foot Raising Cane’s restaurant at the southeast corner of Academy Boulevard and Agora Point in northern Colorado Springs, where a now-demolished Elephant Bar once stood.

Raising Cane’s is targeting a late spring opening, said Nick Kitaeff, development director with Confluent Development of Denver. The company is developing Academy Square, a retail project at Academy and Agora where Raising Cane’s will open; its building will feature roll-up garage doors, indoor seating, a patio and a drive-thru.

Academy Square also will include an 8,265-square-foot, multitenant building. Denver breakfast and brunch chain Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, will occupy about half the building and plans an April opening; Bishops Cuts/Color, a Portland, Ore.,-based barbershop and salon, also will lease a portion of the building.

Colorado Springs has been an attractive market for Confluent, Kitaeff said. The company has developed two senior living communities in the Springs and free-standing buildings for Starbucks and 7-Eleven. Confluent also owns a former Ruby Tuesday’s at Powers and Stetson Hills boulevards, where new-to-market restaurant chain Hop Jacks of suburban Seattle will open Monday.

Confluent was drawn to North Academy’s bustling retail corridor, Kitaeff said. Chapel Hills East, just to the north of Confluent’s project, is anchored by Whole Foods, Best Buy and Nordstrom Rack; Chapel Hill West, across the street, is home to PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less and 24 Hour Fitness. The Chapel Hills Mall also is a little farther north at Academy and Briargate boulevards.

“We looked at it as an opportunity to tear down (the former Elephant Bar) and add to the great retail lineup in the submarket, with Whole Foods across the street and a variety of other best-in-class national, regional and local restaurant and retail groups,” Kitaeff said.

Bringing well-known brands such as Raising Cane’s and Snooze to its retail project also will be key to its success, he said.

“It was critical,” Kitaeff said. “We really looked at Snooze and Raising Cane’s as kind of our co-anchors for the project, with really great name recognition and really best-in-class operators in what they do.”

Raising Cane’s declined to comment.

In October, the chain’s representatives also submitted documents to Colorado Springs city planners that show a Raising Cane’s restaurant to be built southwest of Powers Boulevard and Barnes Road in the Powers Pointe shopping center.

Raising Cane’s, founded in 1996, has become known for its made-to-order, marinated and breaded chicken fingers. Raising Cane’s has more than 400 locations in 24 states and the Middle East, including restaurants in Castle Rock, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Fort Collins and Parker. A Broomfield location opened Tuesday.

Snooze has 30 locations in Colorado, Arizona, California and Texas, with five more restaurants opening soon, according to its website.

Bishops has locations in 16 states and the District of Columbia, including six in the Denver area, its website shows.

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