The McDonald's restaurant that has operated for 40 years off 28th Street in Boulder closed its doors Sunday in anticipation of a three-month-long redevelopment project to build a new Golden Arches.

As part of permits recently approved by the city of Boulder, the existing fast-food restaurant at 1800 28th St. will be razed and replaced with a similar-sized McDonald's featuring a more contemporary design, infrastructure and equipment.

If the work goes as planned, the new restaurant could open by late July or early August, said franchise owner Aaron Holland.

The redevelopment plans have been in the works for more than two years.

"The major hold-up was what it looks like and trying to get a consensus that the city could live with and we could live with and McDonald's could live with," said Holland, who has run the 28th Street restaurant and two other area McDonald's with his wife, Damita, since 1996.

When plans were submitted, Holland told the Camera that he did have some mixed feelings about the overhaul. At one end, the corporate office's urging for a new restaurant would allow for a modern and state-of-the art property that he and Damita could pass down to their children. At the other end was history.

The uniquely designed restaurant incorporated Colorado flagstone and sandstone and had a large, tree-shaded patio. Its former owner, Bob Charles, was a trailblazer who helped develop the Happy Meal and invented the double drive-through.

Some of that history will live on in a different form.

The rail car that served as a dining area and housed numerous children's birthday parties over the years was donated to the city of Thornton for use in a new park, Holland said.

The new restaurant will have a double drive-through in which two lanes will merge into one, and the building will be equipped with a third window to serve drive-through patrons whose orders may be taking slightly longer than others, Holland said.

"For us, it's a new drive-through system that should help us in the future be even more efficient," he said.

Some new design elements will be "one-of-a-kind," but the new patio will be similar to those at existing McDonald's, he said.

"We were able to keep some trees," he said. "That's one of the things I loved. It was a nice, cool place to sit in the evening. We won't be able to duplicate that."

Plans approved by the city show a nearly 4,600-square-foot rectangular building with an earth-toned facade consisting of mostly brick and wood. The flat-topped building is absent the signature mansard roof and also has an M-emblazoned red "blade" extending from the building's front.

Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or