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It's official: Panera Bread to close its Hastings location

The Panera Bread location in Hastings is officially closing. The store's final day is Tuesday, Aug. 20.

The Hastings location opened 10 years ago and the company signed a 10-year lease at that time. That lease expires at the end of August, and negotiations had been taking place for a number of months between Panera and the landlord. Those negotiations didn't go as Panera had hoped said district manager Sharon Woods. 

"The landlord's not willing to negotiate," Woods said. "Obviously, that's their choice. They are there to make a living. It was a really tough time for us to make this decision. We love Hastings. We love being in the community. We love our customers, but it just wasn't right for us to stay. At this time, we've decided to not renew our lease."

The building's landlord, Bryan Larson, disagrees with that explanation.

"Panera's lease was up," he said. "We offered to extend their lease either two, three or five years, whichever they preferred, at the same rate. Panera said, 'Thanks, but no thanks.'

"They said that they only way they were going to stay was if if they had free rent. We did everything in our reach to keep them as a tenant in that building. I have the email correspondence to back that up."

The building won't be vacant for long. Larson expects to have a signed lease in hand shortly. The new tenant will immediately begin to renovate the space.

Larson said he could not divulge any details about the new tenant, but a source said that the new tenant will not be a restaurant.