A Panera Bread store will replace the Fifty-Off Outlet furniture store at 6120 Sawmill Road.

Covelli Enterprises, a Panera franchisee, has razed the furniture store to make way for the 4,600-square-foot casual restaurant, complete with a drive-through.

Building permits have been conditionally approved and issued, but no inspections have been requested to date, said Anthony Celebrezze III, director of the Columbus Department of Zoning and Building Services.

The conditional approval is contingent upon submission and approval of a fire-suppression and fire-alarm plan, Celebrezze said. Conditional approval is valid for 12 months, which is not unusual, he said.

Covelli also has received permits for tradesmen to work on electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and cooling systems associated with the overall building plan, Celebrezze said.

The opening of the store at 6120 is part of a relocation of the Covelli Enterprises' Panera store that is nearby at 2750 Martin Road.

Covelli spokeswoman Jessica Vogel declined to answer specific questions about the project, such as when the Martin Road store would close, why it was closing and when the new Panera would open.

"With the goal to always keep improving the way Panera Bread pleases our guests, Covelli Enterprises has begun the process of retrofitting many of its established Panera cafes to include drive-thrus and other Panera 2.0 offerings, and relocating stores when necessary to be able to include these conveniences in response to customer needs," Vogel said in a statement she issued.

"Last year, it opened its first of the newest Panera store designs in Orange Township/Lewis Center and Easton Square. The company is proud to take on these new challenges and looks forward to growing with our ever-evolving Panera Bread brand," according to the statement.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary