It may seem like Gastonia hasn't had a state-of-the-art Wendy's since the redheaded namesake of the fast-food chain was still a precocious child.

But devoted fans of the restaurant will finally be treated to some shiny new digs when the newest location opens at a busy intersection next week.

The 3,000-square-foot location at 1510 E. Franklin Boulevard, on the northwest corner of New Hope Road, is expected to begin serving food Tuesday, June 27. It will replace the decades-old Wendy's about a block away.

"The building is 100 percent done and all the inspections inside are done," said Randy Rogers, superintendent for Venture Construction, which is handling the job. "We've done the landscaping, and if everything goes right this week and the (bad) weather holds off, we'll get our paving finished."

Georgia-based Venture Construction broke ground on the $1.1 million project in February, and Rogers estimates the owners, Carolina Restaurant Group, invested upward of $500,000 on equipment and furniture inside. Coca-Cola Freestyle touch screen drink machines and a fireplace will be just a couple of the interior amenities for patrons.

The most noticeable improvement will be seen in the drive-through area. A two-window system — one to pay and one to get your food — will speed things up, as will the much more strategic layout of the kitchen, Rogers said.

"Back when those types of restaurants were built in the 1980s, drive-through was only responsible for 30 to 40 percent of the cash flow," he said. "Now it's as high as 60 to 70 percent at some stores."

At the current Wendy's down the street, people exiting the drive-through are free to attempt a left turn to head east on Franklin Boulevard, as there's a center turn lane there and no concrete island. That sometimes leads to fender-benders or near-wrecks.

At the new location, the N.C. Department of Transportation required Venture to install devices that will prevent people from leaving Wendy's and turning left, to the east. And if you exit onto North New Hope Road, you can only go south, to the right.

The best option for many exiting patrons will be to take advantage of a driveway leading back to Beverly Drive, where drivers can make their way in whatever direction they need to go, Rogers said.

The 1.32-acre lot where the new Wendy's sits has a taxable value of more than $1 million. Plans for the old restaurant have not been announced yet.

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.