YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Site work has begun on a new Chili’s restaurant here.

The well-known bar-and-grill chain isn’t expected to open for another 18 months, base officials said. It will be built on the spot currently occupied by Building 522, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service mini-mall that sits next to Tomodachi Lanes and the Family Support Center.

A fence is being wrapped around that structure now in preparation for its demolition, said 2nd Lt. Charles Comfort, chief of the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron’s construction management section. The adjacent parking lot, along with some nearby trees and bushes, also will be taken out to make room for the restaurant.

“Current projection is that construction will be complete on the Chili’s restaurant within 12-18 months,” Comfort said, adding that the removal of Building 522 and its parking lot should be complete by May 14. “It should be up and running within 12 months of the demolition.

“Chili’s restaurants have been very popular on military installations, providing an alternate possibility to dining at the food court at the BX or the dining hall. This Chili’s will have a central location, and we expect it will be a very popular morale booster for the military and civilian personnel at Yokota.”

Clearing away chunks of the old building and preparing for a fresh construction site will cost more than $258,000, Comfort said. That effort is being funded by the civil engineer squadron, which awarded the contract to the Nippo Corporation, a local contractor.

Building 522 formerly housed several small businesses, which have been relocated around the base, he said.

The 374th Services Division is bringing Chili’s to Yokota, which will be the second military installation in the Pacific to open a franchise. The chain debuted at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, in 2003.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now