In-N-Out Burger recently began hiring employees for its first Colorado Springs restaurant, southeast of InterQuest and Voyager parkways in the north side Victory Ridge development. Now, the popular California chain has signed a ground lease for the site of a second restaurant that it plans east of Powers Boulevard and Constitution Avenue in the First & Main Town Center on the Springs’ east side.

In-N-Out Burger appears to be firming up plans for its second Colorado Springs restaurant.

The California-based chain has agreed to a 20-year lease of a nearly 2-acre site east of Powers Boulevard and Constitution Avenue in the First & Main Town Center on the Springs’ east side, El Paso County land records show.

In-N-Out plans to tear down a former Outback Steakhouse on the property and construct a 3,879-square-foot restaurant that will open in 2021, according to documents the chain submitted in July to Colorado Springs city government planners. The restaurant will include a drive-thru, patio and parking.

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In-N-Out is leasing the former Outback Steakhouse site from limited liability companies controlled by Nor’wood Development Group, the Colorado Springs real estate company that developed First & Main, land records show.

In addition to an initial 20-year term, the ground lease provides options for In-N-Out to renew the agreement for a half-dozen five-year terms or 30 more years. Leasing the ground instead of selling it allows Nor’wood to retain long-term control of the property.

“We’re obviously excited to have In-N-Out join First & Main,” said Fred Veitch, a retired Nor’wood executive who still works with the company and oversaw the shopping center’s development. “I think it’s going to add new energy to the project. Clearly they’re a highly desirable offering to have.”

Though In-N-Out has submitted plans to city officials for the First & Main site and committed to a ground lease of the property, a company official says the location is not yet a done deal.

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“We are excited about the potential to serve our customers in this distinct and vibrant part of the Colorado Springs community,” Carl Arena, In-N-Out’s vice president of real estate, said via email of the First & Main location. “That said, it truly is too early to know when, or even if, we will open a restaurant at this site.”

In response to a question about whether In-N-Out will have more than two restaurant locations in the Colorado Springs area, Arena said it’s also too soon to know that.

“Our real estate team continues to evaluate sites throughout the state of Colorado and the greater Colorado Springs market, but our growth strategy has always been, and remains, thoughtful and measured so it’s too early to know how many restaurants we may eventually open in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area,” Arena said.

The chain is building its first restaurant southeast of InterQuest and Voyager parkways in the Victory Ridge development on Colorado Springs’ north side. In-N-Out has said the restaurant remains on track to open late this year, but hasn’t set a specific date. It recently began hiring for jobs at the location.

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In-N-Out, popular for its burgers, fries and shakes, announced in 2017 that it would expand to Colorado.

It tabbed Colorado Springs at its regional headquarters; in addition to a restaurant at Victory Ridge, In-N-Out is building a distribution and production facility at the development that will serve its restaurants around the state.

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