Council Has Also Vacated Right-of-Way for Car Dealership in Unrelated Development

City of Chehalis Approves Lease With Panda Express 


Panda Express could be coming to Chehalis in 2024 as the Chehalis City Council moved forward with actions to facilitate new developments on Arkansas Way in February. 

The city approved a 20-year lease with Panda Express Inc. to build a restaurant on NW Arkansas Way. That lease has now been submitted to Panda Express and the city is awaiting its signing. 

The city council also recently approved an ordinance vacating a portion of Arkansas Way to HJP Inc. which will allow both the I-5 Toyota dealership and the Interstate Honda dealership still under construction to create better entrances for both dealerships. 

Panda Express Lease

Shoppers visiting the many businesses along Northwest Louisiana Avenue could have a new dining option by late spring 2024, according to Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson.

While the lease has been tentatively agreed to, the city is still waiting to get the signed lease.

“Panda (Express) has been in touch and plans to get the documents to us late next week after they return from a conference. So, they have not yet been signed; however, there is no reason to believe that they won’t be.” Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson told The Chronicle in an email. 

Once the lease is signed, representatives from Panda Express will be doing due diligence inspecting the property to ensure it can facilitate the restaurant’s needs. 

The Panda Express will be located at 710 NW Arkansas Way in Chehalis, between the Home Depot and Walmart Supercenter on Northwest Louisiana Avenue. 

The 20-year lease is broken into four escalating rent sections. For the first five years of the lease, annual rent will be $43,500, increasing to $47,850 in years six through 10, then to $52,635 in years 11 through 15 and finally reaching $57,898.50 in the final five years. 

The estimated delivery date for Panda Express to actually take control of the property will be July 1, 2023. 

“We appear to have a good partner with Panda Express. They will be an excellent fast-casual dining option for our community and travelers,” Chehalis-Centralia Airport Director Brandon Rakes said at a recent Chehalis City Council meeting.

Panda Express first approached the Chehalis-Centralia Airport about leasing land to open a restaurant in the area in April of 2022. Since then, airport employees have been working with Panda Express representatives to draft a lease acceptable to both parties. 

No timeline has been set yet for when construction will begin. 

Vacating Part of Arkansas Way

Right up the road from where the proposed Panda Express will go, a portion of land on Arkansas Way next to the I-5 Toyota dealership was vacated by the city.

I-5 Toyota also dedicated a part of its adjacent land to help facilitate construction of a more orderly and safe intersection to control traffic going into the dealerships after the Interstate Honda dealership opens. 

Both dealerships are on the east side of Northwest Louisiana Avenue and Arkansas Way runs between the two dealerships. 

According to the ordinance, Interstate Honda will perform necessary upgrades to the intersection of NW Louisiana Avenue and Arkansas Way. 

“Honda announced that they are hoping to be open at the end of May, barring any unforeseen construction issues,” Anderson said in an email.