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Watsonville
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July 24, 2021

Freedom McDonald’s undergoing complete rebuild

WATSONVILLE—McDonald’s restaurant, one of the business pillars of the Freedom Boulevard corridor in Watsonville since 1974, was torn into by a demolition crew Monday.

Armed with a massive excavator, the team from A&S Metals grabbed hunks of the building starting at 8:15am inside a chain-link fence construction site.

“This has been in the works for the past eight years,” said Martin Guerrero, whose family owns the franchise. “A couple of other projects got in the way, but now we’re getting it done. A lot of memories and a lot of jobs have come through here.”

Guerrero said a new, state-of-the-art McDonald’s will take its place. The former building was too small to accommodate modern equipment and furnishings, said Guerrero. The new facility will still feature a kid’s playroom.

“This is the only McDonald’s in Santa Cruz County to have a kid’s area,” Guerrero said. “We have people come all the way from Scotts Valley just to bring their kids here.”

Doug Mattos, longtime area resident, said one of his first jobs was one the first crew at McDonald’s when the first opened.

“Our jobs included everything, wiping down tables, taking out the trash at the grill, and working the counter,” he said. “It was a great job. My wife even worked there a little later.”

The new one-story restaurant, at 1598 Freedom Blvd., will also feature a double-lane drive-thru. It will have around 70 employees, compared to the 62 that were running the former eatery.

“We’ll still have the same full menu and the same great service,” Guerrero said. “Only the new place will be so much nicer.”

He said that it will take around seven or eight days to level the old building. The new single-story McDonald’s will measure 45-by-96 feet.

Shaz Roth, CEO of the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, said she learned that the new building is slated for completion in about four months. 

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