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It's finally here.

Residents who have long awaited the opening of a Panera Bread cafe in Waukesha will soon get their wish.

The Waukesha Panera, 1170 W. Sunset Drive, is expected to open in mid-December, said Dawn Hendershot, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust.

Ramco-Gershenson, a Michigan-based development firm, owns the nearly 370,000-square foot Shoppes at Fox River retail center on the city's south side where the Panera restaurant will be.

"We are very excited about this new tenant at our center," Hendershot said.

The announcement of the anticipated opening date comes swiftly after the launch of the new Ross Dress for Less store at the Shoppes, and amid the ongoing redevelopment of Sunset Drive, which has become a local shopping destination.

Panera is directly west of the Ross store and just north of the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

The news about Panera's opening is also the latest in a string of recently announced eateries that will be coming soon to another Sunset Drive development, Sunset Crossings, the former site of the Waukesha Kmart.

A representative of the leasing agency for Sunset Crossings confirmed Monday, Nov. 14, that Einstein Bros. Bagels, Caribou Coffee and Firehouse Subs will move into that development. Those restaurants are expected to be up and running by May 2017.

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