Panera Bread is planning to open a restaurant in Fort Gratiot. The proposed location is in the former Pier 1 Imports store which is located in front of Birchwood Mall. According to zoning administrator Jorja Baldwin, Panera Bread has submitted site plans that would split the building into two stores: 4,000 square feet would become the new Panera Bread restaurant and another 2,500 square feet would be available for a second business. Panera Bread is a bakery- cafe which features items made with fresh-baked bread, antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain products, and select natural and organic ingredients. There are more than 1,500 restaurants in the U.S. and Ontario. The site plan is coming before the Fort Gratiot Township planning commission on Aug. 14. Baldwin said she doesn’t foresee any problems with getting approval. According to Baldwin, construction to retrofit the building could start within three months.