Oct. 10--CHAMPAIGN _ Panda Express will open one of its largest restaurants in the nation in the former Follett's building at Green and Wright streets, JSM Development announced Wednesday.
Its parent company, Panda Restaurant Group, which has more than 1,600 locations in 42 states, plans to lease more than 3,200 square feet on two levels of the building, said Jill Guth, JSM's director of commercial leasing/marketing.
The restaurant is targeting a winter opening, she added.
Two retailers _ Apricot Lane Boutique and Ragstock _ have already taken space in the former Follett's building, and Guth said some space is still available on the first and second floors.
Panda Express already has two locations in Champaign _ one at 2521 N. Prospect Ave. and the other at Market Place Mall.
In addition to operating Panda Express, the privately owned Panda Restaurant Group operates Panda Inns and Hibachi-San Japanese Grills. The original Panda Inn opened in 1973 in Pasadena, Calif., and the first Panda Express opened 10 years later in Glendale, Calif.
"JSM has been working with Panda Express for the past two years to find the right location in Campustown," Guth said.
Several other restaurants, including Chipotle and Wendy's, are using two-floor concepts in Campustown.