FORNEY, Texas — City officials, business leaders, and community members gathered for Panera Bread's groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning at Forney Marketplace — this, nearly a year after plans were announced for the much-anticipated Forney location.

In breaking ground, Panera Bread officials said the location would be one of its larger square-footage "fast-casual bakery cafes" and would feature a drive-thru. According to a site plan, the restaurant will be approximately 4,400-square foot.

Panera Bread will be located in the Forney Marketplace south of Kroger near the intersection of Marketplace Boulevard and the westbound U.S. Highway 80 frontage road.

“Panera is excited to be a part of the Forney Marketplace development with excellent presence off of Highway 80 and Old FM 548,” Senior Development Project Manager, Justin Knepper, stated in October. “The city staff and developer have been awesome to work with and are doing everything they can to set us up for success at this new location.”

The new location is anticipating a December 2019 opening, weather dependent.

“Panera Bread is an excellent addition to Forney’s business community,” Forney Economic Development Corporation Director Warren Ketteman also stated in October. “We believe this announcement will serve to kickstart more development along the U.S. Highway 80 frontage road.”

Between 50 and 60 jobs are anticipated at the new location.