YAKIMA, Wash. — The former Grand Buffet restaurant building was demolished Thursday to make way for a new McDonald’s location in downtown Yakima.

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Construction at 19 E. Yakima Ave. is expected to be completed in the next few months. Greg Luring, who owns and operates a dozen McDonald’s locations in Yakima and Kittitas counties, will also be the franchisee for the new location.

From the 1970s until a year ago, the building housed several restaurants, including a JB’s Big Boy.

After the Grand Buffet closed last summer, property owner Patti Schneider worked on finding a new tenant. She signed a 20-year-lease with McDonald’s late last year.

What was expected to be a quick land-use application process led to several months of negotiation with city of Yakima planning officials on a building design that would be compatible with the downtown area.

With no design standards in place, city officials turned to a conservation easement from 2006 to gain leverage to negotiate an improved building design that incorporates brick. Since two driveways for the restaurant crossed the easement, the Yakima City Council needed to approve modification of the easement agreement to allow for vehicular access. The City Council voted to modify the agreement in July.

McDonald’s Corp. ultimately spent an extra $80,000 on redesigning the site plan and building rendering for an all-brick building that accommodated the city.

The total project cost is $2.5 million to $3 million.

• Mai Hoang can be reached at 509-759-7851 or at maihoang@yakimaherald.com.